Mexico – Environment, Politics & Society



Tad Mutersbaugh


Office Address:

1471 Patterson Office Tower




Office Phone:






Office hours:

Wednesday 10-11:30,

Thursday 9-10:30



Course Description:

This course examines how politics, the environment, and socio-economic relations have shaped Mexico’s contemporary social and cultural geography. The course examines how historical and contemporary processes such as agrarianism, urbanization (Mexico City), the Mexican Revolution, migration, and development have shaped the politics of identity, community, and geography, with particular attention to questions of gender, indigenous peoples, and popular culture.





Student Learning Outcomes: 

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

1.     Describe the geographic, social, and historical factors that figure in a range of contemporary Mexican identities. In particular, students should be conversant in the processes through which Mestizaje arose from social histories and shapes contemporary politics and geographies.

2.     Demonstrate an understanding of the elements that prompted the Mexican Revolution and assess how this historic rupture has shaped both agrarian and urban geographies, environments, and social formations.

3.     Identify key contemporary social problems such as Femicide, Drug Trafficking, Environmental degradation, and migration, and show how these factors are interrelated.

4.     Illustrate an understanding of the role that communality and corporatism plays in Mexican society, and show how this understanding is integral to the search for solutions to Mexico’s contemporary conundrums.


Required Materials:

All readings may be downloaded on-line from course website:


Course Assignments & Summary Description

(1) Weekly discussion papers covering discussion questions posted on-line, worth 40 points. You must hand in 10, in-class, to obtain course credit.  These 400 word responses will provide a basis for in-class discussion.

(2) A research paper of 8 pages related to the course . You must also hand in a one-paragraph research paper synopsis listing five citations (only 1 online) due Tuesday week 12, and an in-class presentation on the theme of your paper. worth 25 points

(3) 3 Exams, 2 In-Class (7.5 pts each), 1 Take-Home Final (10 pts) =  25 points.

(4) Field Trip, worth  10 points.

Course Grading 

Grading scale:

§  90 – 100% = A

§  80-89% = B

§  70-79% = C

§  60-69% = D

§  <or=59% = E


Final Exam Information

   Date, time, location, other information


Mid-term Grade

Mid-term grades will be posted in myUK by the deadline established in the Academic Calendar (  


Course Policies:



Submission of Assignments:


Discussion papers (see above) must be turned  in in-class to receive credit. The final paper must be submitted via email by 5 pm on the last day of finals week in pdf format. Two exams will be given in-class, and the third will be a take-home exam.




Attendance Policy. 


Students are expected to attend class on a regular basis, in accordance with Senate Policy on excused absences.  For each 3 unexcused absences, a deduction of .5 letter grade will be assessed.




Excused Absences:


Students need to notify the professor of absences prior to class when possible. S.R. defines the following as acceptable reasons for excused absences: (a) serious illness, (b) illness or death of family member, (c) University-related trips, (d) major religious holidays, and (e) other circumstances found to fit “reasonable cause for nonattendance” by the professor.


Students anticipating an absence for a major religious holiday are responsible for notifying the instructor in writing of anticipated absences due to their observance of such holidays no later than the last day in the semester to add a class. Information regarding dates of major religious holidays may be obtained through the religious liaison, Mr. Jake Karnes (859-257-2754).


Students are expected to withdraw from the class if more than 20% of the classes scheduled for the semester are missed (excused or unexcused) per university policy.





Verification of Absences


Students may be asked to verify their absences in order for them to be considered excused. Senate Rule states that faculty have the right to request “appropriate verification” when students claim an excused absence because of illness or death in the family. Appropriate notification of absences due to university-related trips is required prior to the absence.




Academic Integrity:


Per university policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses.  The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred.  If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to suspension from the university may be imposed. 


Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct.  Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.  Complete information can be found at the following website:  A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty. It is important that you review this information as all ideas borrowed from others need to be properly credited.


Part II of Student Rights and Responsibilities (available online states that all academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors, is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression.  In cases where students feel unsure about the question of plagiarism involving their own work, they are obliged to consult their instructors on the matter before submission.


When students submit work purporting to be their own, but which in any way borrows ideas, organization, wording or anything else from another source without appropriate acknowledgement of the fact, the students are guilty of plagiarism.  Plagiarism includes reproducing someone else’s work, whether it be a published article, chapter of a book, a paper from a friend or some file, or something similar to this. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be.


 Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual work is done, it must be done by the student, and the student alone. When a student’s assignment involves research in outside sources of information, the student must carefully acknowledge exactly what, where and how he/she employed them.  If the words of someone else are used, the student must put quotation marks around the passage in question and add an appropriate indication of its origin. Making simple changes while leaving the organization, content and phraseology intact is plagiaristic.  However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain (Section 6.3.1).


Please note:  Any assignment you turn in may be submitted to an electronic database to check for plagiarism.




Accommodations due to disability:


If you have a documented disability that requires academic accommodations, please see me as soon as possible during scheduled office hours. In order to receive accommodations in this course, you must provide me with a Letter of Accommodation from the Disability Resource Center (Room 2, Alumni Gym, 257-2754, email address: for coordination of campus disability services available to students with disabilities.



Preliminary Course Exams Schedule


Week 6

Thursday: Exam #1

Week 13

Tuesday: Exam #2

Finals Week

Take-Home Final Exam