Ecological Borderlands

Courses in this cluster will examine the ways in which ecological systems intersect with social, political, and cultural factors, while also considering the role of borderlands and power structures in shaping these complex interactions. 

Course Descriptions

CC104: Power, Place, and the Southwest Borderlands

Instructor: Karen Roybal
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Historical Perspectives
CRN# 15402
Block: 1

The course explores the complex place we call the Greater Southwest, including Greater Mexico, and the varied peoples who have lived, fought, traveled, written, raised families, farmed, ranched, and survived here. Using interdisciplinary epistemologies and methodologies from Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Geography, Environmental Studies, Chicanx/Latinx, Critical Indigenous, and Literary Studies, we investigate strands of culture (indigenous and imported) that have intertwined in this region over the last thousand years. We begin by examining (pre)historical, geographic, and anthropological records and debates over whose voices get to define the region, proceed to a series of primary and secondary texts to examine physical geographic, historical, and literary traditions of the region, and assess the enduring impacts of conquests. We explore how people have constructed and articulated sense of place over time, and discuss implications of these decisions for relationships people develop between themselves, the environment, and others. The course considers relationships between Indigenous nations, Hispano/Latinx/Chicanx, Black and Asian populations, and Euro-American groups in the natural setting of the Southwest to better understand the conflict, cooperation, and cultural blending among these groups; the ways they understand and affect the biophysical landscape; and how land/nature has forged relationships within and between these groups.

Local and regional field trips; potential overnight travel.

CC120: Writing the Southwest Borderlands

Instructor: Santiago Guerra
CRN# 15403
Block: 2

In this course, we will explore place-based writing about, from, and between cultures and landscapes of the Greater Southwest (including Mexico). Using interdisciplinary perspectives on texts, writing, orality, testimony, and genre, we will investigate how the multiple cultures of the region write about experience, place, power, equity, and difference. Building on CC100 Power, Place, and the Southwest Borderlands, we will explore how primary and secondary sources converge in multiple forms of narrative, story, and genre in defining the peoples and places of the region.

The course will be mostly from 9 am - 12 pm with the exception of the aforementioned field trips and afternoon/evening lecture.


CC106: Ecologies, Resistance, and Liberation

Instructor: Mike Taber
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Societies and Human Behavior
CRN# 15404
Block: 1

What does it mean to give a voice to narratives where fixed borders are the constructs of parochialism? Maps are never innocent and only represent the ideological topographies of those in power. Yet, the ecology of landscapes possesses legitimacy. Voices for the voiceless must transcend anthropocentrism. There is a need for a new paradigm for a nature-centered ontology that incorporates social, political, economic, and personal values. The contemporary socio-political issues facing all societies, particularly educating youth, and in the context of Colorado rural communities. The goal of this course is to raise students’ critical consciousness of “being rural” through epistemology, ontology, and praxis; to give a voice to the forces, signs, wounds, and messages dispersed upon the political ecology, always keeping in mind the link between ecologies is grounded in cultural, political, and physical systems that give rise to conflict and resolution.

Possible 4 day feld trip to Springfield, CO

CC120: Instruction, Culture, and Identity: Studying Education as a Social Science

Instructor: Nickie Coomer
CRN# 15405
Block: 2

This course focuses on the study of Education through the lenses of the social sciences. By deciphering the ways in which Education is written about according to discipline-specific paradigms and theoretical commitments, students will then organize and write manuscripts about a topic in education through the lenses of the social sciences: focusing, specifically, on the topics of instruction, school culture, and teacher and student identity.


CC105: Understanding the San Luis Valley

Instructor: Henry Fricke
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Scientific Analysis
CRN# 15406
Block: 1

The part of Colorado that includes, and surrounds, the San Luis Valley has an amazingly rich set of ‘histories’, including those that aregeological, environmental, anthropological, cultural, economic and political in nature. In other words it is a region that can be exploredfrom a wide variety of academic perspectives that together fit under the General Education umbrella. In this course students will be introduced to some of different ways that academic disciplines create knowledge and thus how they 'understand' this area. The courses will also help students develop a ‘Sense of the Southwest’ that extends beyond their more frequent Front Range experiences.

Week 1 field trip & overnight at CC cabin; week 3 field trip & 2-night 3-day trip to Baca Campus; several day-trips to Denver, Colorado springs (apprx 3:30 pm return).

CC120: Natural History? Museums, Collecting, and Display

Instructor: Amy Kohout
CRN# 15407
Block: 3

From 17th-century curiosity cabinets to A Night at the Museum, artifacts and specimens have offered their collectors, curators, and viewers access to multiple ways of understanding the natural world. In this writing seminar, we’ll explore the history of natural history, collecting, and display in a range of times and places, past and present. Using materials and approaches drawn from history, science and technology studies, and museum studies, we’ll grapple with key questions about American cultures of collecting: How have collections been deployed to produce knowledge—by whom, for whom, about whom? What is curation? How do collections—and exhibits—make arguments? Together we’ll consider dinosaur bones, bird specimens, field books, habitat dioramas, and materials from local collections as we examine the ways exhibits tell stories and offer arguments—and craft our own.

2-3 day field trips; one to Denver, and 1-2 local museum visits.


Report an issue - Last updated: 05/25/2023