LAS 150B2 Understanding Mexico Today

Mexico today is a diverse and dynamic country that is often misrepresented in popular stereotypes as a country full of sleepy, rural villages or dangerous, drug-ridden deserts. What are the major challenges facing Mexico today? Why do so many people migrate away from Mexico-and why do even more Mexicans return home? What historical and contemporary forces have shaped contemporary Mexico? We will learn about major topics including immigration, racial and ethnic diversity, democracy and political change, inequality, environmental change, violence, injustice and impunity, and Mexico in the global context (especially Mexico-United States relations). In the process, you will gain a far better understanding than most North Americans have of the peoples, environments, cultures and regions of Mexico, and of the complex political, economic, and social structures that influence the region and its international relations, especially with the United States. This course focuses on current challenges of development, environment, and politics in Mexico. It will examine how Mexico has dealt with such issues as economic development and human rights. We will also explore environmental and indigenous politics, resource struggles, urban challenges, and the impact of the war on drugs. The last part of the class examines Mexican migration experiences, U.S. immigration policy, and the social and environmental context of the U.S.-Mexico border.