GENED 1089: The Border: Race, Politics, and Health in Modern Mexico





Professor: Gabriela Soto Laveaga

T, Th - 10:30 am to 11:45 am

What can histories of tension and cooperation at the U.S.-Mexico border tell us about our own nation's public health programs and national racism?

Why does the Mexico-U.S. border continue to be a space for debate and controversy? This course examines how the creation of the U.S.-Mexico border in 1848 shaped modern Mexican society from the nineteenth century to our present. For many, the border served (and serves) as a protective barrier from poverty, violence, and, especially, disease. By the early twentieth century many Mexican bodies were perceived as “alien,” “illegal,” and in need of patrolling. Yet these descriptions were also used by Mexican politicians to describe and isolate groups such as Indigenous and Chinese within Mexico. By examining, for example, Mexican public health campaigns, response to epidemics, and how Mexican ideas of race and health played out within Mexico we can better understand the U.S.-Mexico border today.

This course has an enrollment cap, so to be considered, you must request permission to enroll and rank your choices through my.harvard by 11:59 p.m. EDT Wednesday, August 24. The Gen Ed lottery will run Thursday, August 25 with approvals and denials sent out no later than 11:59 p.m. that day via your my.harvard account. Visit for more information and step-by-step instructions.