Course Description

This course challenges students to think about a wide range of complex and controversial topics happening along today’s U.S. Mexico border. The approach is transnational and multi-disciplinary. Coursework will include readings, lectures, podcasts and films. Assignments are designed to encourage students to think creatively through writing, music and a variety of media. Students will conduct independent research on a current topic of their choosing and their findings will be shared with others in the class.  

This course fulfills a Humanities requirement for the Liberal Studies Quaternity.

Meeting Place and Times



LaTrelle Scherffius holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies/Political Science from Vanderbilt University, an M.A. in History from MSU and is a current PhD Candidate researching the American West, Photography and U.S. Mexico Borderlands. She holds a certificate degree in International Non-Profit Management from the Monterrey Institute in CA and has lived and worked in Nicaragua and Argentina. When she is not teaching or researching, she enjoys watching independent film, camping and hiking with her giant Newfoundland dogs. 

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table.

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

Required Books/Materials

All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands
Author: Stephanie Elizondo Griest
Publisher: University of North Carolina Press; Paperback edition (February 1, 2020)
ISBN-13: 978-1469659244
Price: $20.00 approximately
The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez
Author: Aaron Bobrow-Strain
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st Ed. (April 16, 2019)
ISBN-13: 978-0374191979 
Price: $16.99 approximately
Gangster Warlords: Drug Dollars, Killing Fields and the New Politics of Latin America
Author: Ioan Grillo
ISBN-13: 978-1408845912  
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC: UK ed. (January 12, 2017)  
Price: $12.09 approximately
Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security
Author: Todd Miller
Publisher: City Lights Open Media (September 12, 2017)
ISBN-13: 978-0872867154
Price: $12.86 approximately
Other media files on D2L.

Computer Requirements

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Please contact the instructor LaTrelle Scherffius

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.