Unlearning racism: the classroom as a space for social transformation through borderlands pedagogy

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4 Scopus citations


The U.S.-Mexico borderlands are fraught with conflicts, metaphors, and euphemisms. As such, many students are cautious speaking to the complexities of the borderlands when they realize racist and anti-immigrant discourse are at its core. Borderlands pedagogy, however, can serve as a means of connectivity for social justice courses and for social and transformative justice curricula. This paper argues the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, as articulated through the citizenship regime, deals primarily in power and control; and those who have the power to define citizenship are those who have the control to claim citizenship. However, the transformative classroom can also help students articulate citizenship at various levels for empowerment and against the citizenship regime, and hence against racism. While scholarly focus on the borderlands has generally been on legalized notions of citizenship or on the border wall itself, borderlands pedagogy is useful in explaining and understanding the inherent racism of the citizenship regime; and especially how we as diverse learning communities can challenge it, and consequently tear down walls; starting in the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-157
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Justice Review: Issues in Criminal, Social, and Restorative Justice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020


  • Borderlands pedagogy
  • U.S.-Mexico borderlands
  • borderlands studies
  • citizenship regime
  • social transformation curricula

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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