The U.S.-Mexico border has been described as a "thin edge of barbwire...where the Third World grates against the First and bleeds." Nowhere else in the world is there such physical proximity of a post-industrial nation and a developing one. While capital, goods and managerial personnel freely cross the border under NAFTA, the Mexican worker is the target of conflicting policies aimed at securitizing the border and disciplining labor on both sides. The political and economic relationship between the two nations produces deeply problematic effects in each, driving migration and producing the archetypically Mexican “illegal alien” devoid of rights. Deeply held notions of racial, ethnic and national boundaries mark the social terrain, yet are challenged by the long history of transborder circuits and communities and their recent explosive growth. Emphasizing historical analysis and contemporary theories of nationalism, governmentality, globalization, and transnationalism, the course will challenge students to rethink the meaning of the border, the place of Mexicans in the U.S., and the role of the U. S. in Mexico.