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Spark 001: The Border and Chicanx Texts (Contreras)

This guide was developed for Spring 2024

Welcome! Research Guide Learning Outcomes

Welcome to the Getting Started with Library Research guide from UC Merced Library. The Research & Learning Services unit is here to support your success as an undergraduate at UC Merced. This guide is mean to be an overview for anyone wanting to learn more about conducting college-level library research for assignments. It can also serve as a good refresher for graduate students or those returning to school after a break.

Friendly UC Merced librarians and functional experts are available to help you with this process and many related tasks from GIS to scholarly publishing. Check out our library liaison page to locate a contact.

Research is a Process (Infographic)

Research is an iterative process. Instead of straightforward and linear, it is repetitive and cyclical. As you move through the steps to learn, you should modify and revise your strategies. Don't be afraid to return to an earlier step to reset your process!Research is a Process infographic; follow the long description link for a web accessible version

Long description of "Research is a Process" for web accessibility

About Spark 001: The Border and Chicanx Texts

Course Descripton

This course explores the border as both a concept and physical space in Mexican America. In order to examine the border’s complexity, you will learn to produce and grapple with relevant research questions; write creatively and critically on the subject; and discuss and deliberate the subject’s ambiguous meaning. Such acquired skills will improve your ability to think, write, and communicate clearly and effectively, especially as you deal with a common yet contested term like “the border.” This course will give you the opportunity to study Chicanx novels, stories, and films that contemplate the border in various ways. These texts range in setting and topic, beginning with the fateful nineteenth-century war between Mexico and the United States (1846-1848) and ending with the present-day issue of being undocumented in this country. To enhance your analytical skills, you will also read critical essays on how the border functions interculturally and intraculturally, as both a physical space of conflict and potentially ideological place of healing. Finally, this class will equip you the intellectual tools needed to investigate and understand how the border or “the wall” exists, changes, and persists in American politics and society today.

Proposals to establish the Mexican-American border between 1845 and 1848

Course Required Readings

Library Visit 4/23/2024


By the end of this session, you will be able to

  • Develop keywords for searching & create a basic search in a search tool
  • Identify useful search tools for locating peer-reviewed journal literature
  • Articulate key differences (advantages/disadvantages) of MLA International Bibliography and Google Scholar
  • Locate the full-text of articles
  • Access help from librarians

Lesson Plan

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