RCSSCI 463 - Mexican Labor in North America
Section: 001
Term: WN 2008
Subject: RC Social Sciences (RCSSCI)
Department: LSA Residential College
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

As a result of the continental economic integration process promoted by NAFTA, the U.S. imports far more manufactured goods, and far more labor from Mexico than ever before. Most of these imported goods are produced in a twelve-mile strip just south of the U.S.-Mexico border, where export-oriented assembly plants called maquiladoras employ at least one million workers. Most of the growing number of Mexican workers who cross the border to work in the United States are small farmers who can no longer support their families with what they can grow and earn on the land. This course examines the rise of the maquiladoras, the decline of small farmers in Mexico, the causes of these developments, and their consequences for workers in Mexico and the United States.

The centerpiece of the course is a one-week field trip to Nogales, Sonora (a maquila city of 300,000, located one hour south of Tucson, AZ) during the Spring Break. In Nogales, we do “home-stays” with people who live and work there, visit factories and talk with managers, and meet community organizers. We also travel to Altar and Sasabe, several hours south and west of Nogales, where we talk with migrant workers planning to enter the U.S. without documentation. These encounters are organized with the assistance of an international NGO, Borderlinks, based in Tucson and Nogales. Before the field trip, our readings provide students with historical background, rival theoretical interpretations of the realities that they will soon encounter, and journalistic treatments of what these realities mean to those who live them. After returning to Ann Arbor, students develop individual or group projects that build on what they have learned. These range from traditional research papers to developing materials for educating high school students.

This is a four-credit course, capped at 20. Everyone in the course will be going to Nogales during the Spring Break. The course is open to all LS&A students; Residential College students will have priority for half the spaces. The Office of International Programs is providing some financial support to students to meet the costs of the field trip.

RCSSCI 463 - Mexican Labor in North America
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 3:00PM
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