Place and Displacement in the Americas

a Discovery Core Experience

This course may be taken as either a BCORE 107 (Social Sciences) or as a BCORE 104 (Arts & Humanities) course. It also meets the DIVERSITY graduation requirement.

About This Course

How do people shape the places in which they live and, in the case of immigrants, reshape their new homes? How do things like race, gender, social class, and national heritage affect peoples’ experiences and places? In this class we’ll explore these questions and more through a focus on South, Central, and North American communities. We’ll focus on the way collectives and individuals are shaped through everything from street murals, to mass incarceration, to Native American reservations, to undocumented immigrant status, to homelessness, to transgender identity. The course culminates in a multilingual project that you can read about here. You need not be multilingual to join the class.

“When you say ‘America’ you refer to the territory stretching between the icecaps of the two poles.”

Diego Rivera, Mexican muralist

Why Should I Take This Course?

We have taught or co-taught a version of this class thirteen times and we become more committed to pre-major students and this course material with every passing year. Students across the board enjoy this class.

Future STEM and Business students are grateful they get to explore subjects they won’t see in their majors while students interested in the subjects are grateful to go deeply into topics and histories that actually matter to them and their own life stories.

Selected Texts & Films

We read all different types of texts in this class: social science, journalism, poetry, creative non-fiction, and more. We will view art, watch documentaries, and Hollywood movies, and television shows.

Dr. Yolanda Padilla (she/her/hers)

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, Faculty Coordinator: American & Ethnic Studies


  • B.A. English, University of California, Davis
  • Ph.D. English, University of Chicago


Office: UW1-355

“My scholarship is animated by two commitments. First, I aim to recover and foreground the voices and forms of knowledge produced by colonized and dispossessed peoples. Second, I am dedicated to examining the transnational and historically informed presence and contributions of Latinx people to the making of the U.S. nation. ”

Dr. Padilla

Dr. Julie Shayne (she/her/hers)

School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

About Dr. Shayne

  • Teaching Professor
  • Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies
  • Latin American and Caribbean Studies
  • Want to learn more about me? Visit my faculty bio here.


“I consider myself an ally to marginalized students; ‘an unafraid educator with and for undocumented students and families.”

Dr. Shayne