The U.S. Southwest and Mexico Program provides support and opportunities for students and faculty to learn about and carry out research in this diverse and dynamic region. This distinctive program directs and supports interdisciplinary teaching and research done largely in collaboration with partnership organizations on both sides of the border and inside Mexico.
Hampshire College is committed to engaging in the international debates concerning transnational migration and displacement of people, and the implications and consequences of living within and across national and political borders. In a departure from "area studies," this program seeks to examine boundaries and borders using the Greater Southwest as a starting point and to provide a productive arena in which this can take place.
This program facilitates active engagement of students with their education by "moving the classroom" to locations in the Southwest and in Mexico, where educational opportunities in this area of study are exponentially expanded.
Features of the program include:
- Focusing on borders, border crossing, border culture, and boundaries of many kinds;
- Involving students in collaborative research with indigenous and local communities;
- Emphasizing studies that integrate scientific method, theory, and data into social contexts;
- Forming outside partnerships that benefit the organization, the local community, and Hampshire.
The U.S. Southwest and Mexico Program offers the opportunity for intensive study at Hampshire and in the U.S. Southwest and Mexico on a wide range of topics from creative writing and botany to anthropology and politics.
Students at all levels of study are eligible to participate in the program through the following activities:
- Hampshire courses that incorporate a five- to ten-day field trip to the Southwest or to Mexico (such as "Living in the Sonoran Desert");
- Hampshire courses dealing with the social, political, and economic dynamics of the border region and Mexico, such as "Border Matters";
- Internships at various locations with partnership institutions and facilities; Lecture series and visiting scholars;
- January Term natural and social science courses taking place in the border region and Mexico, such as Border Crossings: Field Visit to San Diego/Tijuana and the Sonoran Desert Border Regions; and Al Otro Lado, taught in the Zapatista-dominated indigenous areas of Chiapas, Mexico.
- Summer internship opportunities in community-based environmental, health, and human rights organizations; and in scientific studies.
Division II independent fieldwork projects and Division III thesis research projects in disciplines such as geology, health, archaeology, ethnobotany, pharmacological plants, creative writing, photography, social movements, transnational migration, indigenous cultures, and medical anthropology (to name but a few), with a focus on research conducted in the Southwest or Mexico.