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SW175 – The Southwest: An Introduction

In this First Year Experience Course, students employ a combination of historical, geographic, cultural and social analysis to explore the peoples, cultures, histories and physical settings that have come to define the Southwest region.

El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico (Photo courtesy: Mario Montano)
El Santuario de Chimayo in Chimayo, New Mexico (Photo courtesy: Mario Montano)

Instructor(s)

Assistant Professor Santiago Guerra email

This course explores the complex place we call the Greater Southwest and the varied peoples who have lived, fought, traveled, written, raised families, farmed, and survived there. We will examine the strands of culture, both indigenous and imported, that intertwine in this region beginning in the fifteenth century. How have people constructed and articulated a sense of place over time, and what are the implications of these decisions for the relationships people develop between themselves, the environment, and others?

The course will start with an examination of the deep past by looking at historical, geographic, and anthropological records and the debates over whose voices get to define the region. We will then use a series of primary and secondary texts to examine the geographic, historical, and literary traditions of the region and assess the enduring impact of conquest. Our work will often consider the relationships between indigenous nations, the large Hispanic/Latino population in the region, and various Euro-American groups. Conflict, cooperation, and cultural blending among these groups, the various ways each group understands and affects landscape, and the ways in which land/nature has forged relationships within and between these groups are central concerns. The course includes both day trips and two overnight field excursions to a few significant sites in the region. Meets the Critical Perspectives (W) or (D) requirement.

Prerequisite: FYE Course. 1st Years Only.