Borderlands Hero Image


Borderlands of Southern Colorado Syllabus

The more we explore the history of Colorado’s borderlands the more we want to know. This syllabus is designed to provide resources to people — like us — who want to know more and learn more about the unique heritage and culture of the Borderlands of Southern Colorado.

While this syllabus stretches wide, it is not exhaustive. It is also dynamic and we will continue to add as new resources are revealed and created. We hope you will use this syllabus for yourself, to build community conversations, to nurture book club discussions, in classrooms, for teachers and mentors, and to guide how we think about this important history. 


The Grounding Text
Borderlands of Southern Colorado is grounded in the writings of Chicana philosopher Gloria Anzaldúa, especially her book:
Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza


History Texts

Translating Property, Maria Montoya

Creating the American West: Boundaries and Borderlands, Derek Everett

The Apache Diaspora: Four Centuries of Displacement and Survival, Paul Conrad (available April 2021)

No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880-1940, Sarah Deutsch

The People of El Valle: A history of the Spanish colonials in the San Luis Valley, Olibama Lopez-Tushar

Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border, Rachel St. John

Archives of Dispossession, Karen Roybal

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: A Legacy of Conflict, by Richard Griswold del Castillo

Forgotten Cuchareños of the Lower Valley, Virginia Sanchez

Enduring Legacies: Ethnic Histories and Cultures of Colorado, Reiland Rabaka

The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West, Patty Limerick

The Comanche Empire, Pekka Hamalainen

Coast-to-Coast Empire: Manifest Destiny and the New Mexico Borderlands, William S. Kiser

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

Pleas and Petitions: Hispano Culture and Legislative Conflict in Territorial Colorado, Virginia Sanchez

La Gente: Hispano History and Life in Colorado, Vincent De Baca (ed.)

Land of the Blue Sky People, Luther Bean

La Sociedad: Guardians of Hispanic Culture along the Rio Grande, Jose A. Rivera

Land of the Penitentes, Land of Tradition, Ruben Archuleta

Pueblo, Hardscrabble, Greenhorn, Janet LeCompte

On the Edge of Purgatory, Bonnie Clark

The Geology, Ecology, and Human History of the San Luis Valley, Jared Beeton, Charles Nicholas Saenz & Benjamin Waddell (eds.)


Cover of "Sabrina & Corina" by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Sabrina & Corina, Kali Fajardo-Anstine



Cabañuelas: A Novel, Norma Elia Cantú

Bless Me Ultima, Rudolfo Anaya

Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros

Sabrina & Corina, Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather

Borderlands Foodways

Taco USA, Gustavo Arellano

A Tortilla Is Like Life: Food and Culture in the San Luis Valley of Colorado, Carole Counihan

The Good Life: New Mexico Traditions and Food, Fabiola Cabeza de Baca Gilbert

Eating the Landscape: American Indian Stories of Food, Identity, and Resilience, Enrique Salmon



Border Women: Writing from La Frontera, Debra A. Castillo and María Socorro Tabuenca Córboba

Feminism on the Border: Chicana Gender Politics and Literature, Sonia Saldivar-Hull

Querencia: Reflections on the New Mexico Homeland, Vanessa Fonseca-Chavez, Levi Romero & Spencer Herrera (eds.)



Ecological Borderlands: Body, Nature, and Spirit in Chicana Feminism, Christina Holmes

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer

Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity, and Place, Sylvia Rodriguez


Ruben Archuleta’s personal archives,

Sociedad Protteccion Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos,

Hilos Culturales,

Manitos: Digital Resolana,



COauthored, History Colorado. Episodes “Vera Esquibel, Salt Creek,” “Juan Federico Trujillo, pts. 1-4,” “Emilio Lobato.”

UnPacked: History Talks from History Colorado, History Colorado. 

Lost Highways: Dispatches from the Shadows of the Rocky Mountains, History Colorado. Episodes “A Line in the Sand,” "The Miseducation of Freddie Freak," “Going to Trinidad, Again”

Teaching Hard History, Teaching Tolerance. Season 2, Episode 7 “The Other History.”

Teaching Hard History, Teaching Tolerance Season 2, Episode 8 “Silver, Resistance and the Evolution of Slavery in the West.”



Borderlands of Southern Colorado Online Lecture Series, History Colorado. 

A Long Journey: The Hidden Jews of the Southwest, New Mexico PBS.

Settling the Sand Dunes, Colorado Experience, Rocky Mountain PBS.

The San Luis Valley, Colorado Experience, Rocky Mountain PBS.

Trinidad, Colorado Experience, Rocky Mountain PBS. 

Boggsville, Colorado Experience, Rocky Mountain PBS. 

Bent’s Fort, Colorado Experience, Rocky Mountain PBS.



The Long-Forgotten Vigilante Murders of the San Luis Valley, by Robert Sanchez, 5280 magazine

Designing Democracy Around a Ditch, by Sarah C. Rich, Smithsonian Magazine

Indian Slavery Once Thrived in New Mexico. Latinos Are Finding Family Ties to It. by Simon Romero, The New York Times, Jan. 28, 2018.

Americans Need to Know the Hard Truth About Union Monuments in the West, by Megan Kate Nelson, The Atlantic, July 10, 2020.

To download this syllabus and have it on hand or share it with a friend, click below. 

“When you come from the borderlands
is to know that you come from before.”


Gloria Anzaldúa