American Frontiers: Southwest Field Studies

Spring 2022
Junior - Senior
Class Size: 50
16 Credits per quarter
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This 16-credit field studies program will focus on Indigenous nations and Latinx communities in the Southwest region of the United States, and travel to that region. The lands straddling the U.S.-Mexico border are one of the few spaces worldwide where there is direct contact between the Third World and First World.  This borderland provides an illuminating arena within which we can examine the historical layers and contemporary intersections of Indigenous nationhood, mestizaje, Latinx identities, and whiteness. We will study differing perspectives of the borderland region as the legacy of the “frontier,” or the edge of American empire, and as a “homeland,” or the center of identity for the peoples who have long inhabited it.
The program will spend a total of five weeks in Arizona and New Mexico, as conditions permit. Students and faculty will spend two weeks together on a study tour to historic sites, communities, and grassroots organizations, and three weeks working independently or in teams with a tribal or community-based project. Faculty will visit student research sites during the project period, and assist student teams in the online class forum. Student projects will use place-based methodologies and “decolonizing praxis” to examine issues of Native sovereignty, cultural identities, immigration, health, education, land and water protection, activism, economic development, gender, and poverty as they impact and are shaped by these communities.
We will examine intersecting homeland and borderland identities, identities and experiences, cultures, activism, histories, and geographies among Latinx and Indigenous peoples who “didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” In this light, we will critique the ongoing process of “Manifest Destiny” for Indigenous nations in Arizona and New Mexico and explore the backlash to immigrant rights and Native sovereignty; we will also explore strategies for countering far-right movements opposing cultural diversity. Finally, we will be looking toward future change and reimaginings in Indigenous nationhood, climate justice, environmental resilience, and immigration.  
Students will develop skills in writing, research, photography, synthesizing information, ethnographic interviewing, community-based learning, and public speaking. Students from previous American Frontiers programs, or with other background in Native and/or Latinx studies, are encouraged to join this program to apply their knowledge in place-based field studies, and make connections with Southwest communities.



Preferable that students have some background in Native Studies, Cultural Studies, or Latinx Studies (e.g. previously enrolled in a program with Dr. Grossman or Dr. Morales). 

Spring 2022 Registration

Academic details

Preparatory For

Education, social work, law, community advocacy, public policy, 

Maximum Enrollment
Class Standing

$1500 fee for the two week program field time in the Southwest. Fee includes includes lodging, food, transportation and sites fees in the southwest during those two weeks.  This fee does NOT cover transportation to and from the southwest or the additional three weeks of individual work. Please see special expenses for additional details. 

Special Expenses

This program is a field studies program that will consist of five weeks in the Southwest. We will spend two weeks on a study tour together in Arizona and New Mexico- those expenses are covered by the required fee.

Students will be expected to fund their own round-trip transportation to Albuquerque, and living expenses for an additional three-week project period ($100 a day is recommended), estimated to cost $2400 ($300 round trip airfare to Albuquerque plus $2100 living expenses). 


Time Offered
Schedule Evergreen link
see Schedule Evergreen for detailed schedule