Alexandra Delano and Jill Anderson: Transnational Border Lab: Theory, Practice, and Scholar-Activism

This presentation was recorded as part of the Community Engagement 101: Peer Exchange Session in May 2020. Faculty were prompted to share about a previously-taught course and reflect on lessons learned, specifically addressing the challenges and opportunities of developing equitable and mutually beneficial collaborations and of effectively preparing students for collaboration. 

Course Description: 

This intensively taught course examines the border as a site of political struggle and a laboratory for political innovation. The particular focus for Spring 2020 will be the deportability-mobility-continuum that operates across the US-Mexico border, read in comparative perspective with similar dynamics elsewhere in the world. At a theoretical level, we will engage the deportability-mobility-continuum as a form of global apartheid and examine the institutions, political-economies, and symbolic narratives that sustain it. On a concrete level, we will engage with the experiences of those who are directly affected by deportation and engaged in resisting it, from Dreamer and sanctuary activists to transnational networks of deportees. We will also consider the university as an institutional battleground for this specific form of border politics and reflect on ourselves as scholar-activists within this context. The course will be a collaboration between students at The New School and students attached to Otros Dreams en Acción in Mexico City. The major piece of assessment will be the collaborative design of a scholar-activist intervention. 

Note: This course was intended to include travel to Mexico City over Spring Break, with university funding covering travel and accommodation expenses; students participating in Mexico City were also intended to travel to the US in early May. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, both trips were cancelled. 

Furthermore, because of the course logistics and travel, enrollment was by permission only. Students were asked to submit a CV and brief expression of interest, as well as participate in an interview. 

TNBL Syllabus, Spring 2020

Recommended Readings

Note: Community Engagement 101 is a proposed introductory curriculum for faculty and TA/Teaching Fellow graduate students across The New School (TNS) who incorporate external engagement or partnership as a part of their syllabus. For more information, visit our Collaboratory In-Depth Profile here.

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