Vanishing Borders in the Classroom

Documentary films  can be an excellent supplement to any curriculum. Documentaries allow students to enter new worlds, exposing them to new ways of seeing the world and to unique voices. Vanishing Borders contains valuable, educational themes that can easily be integrated into high school and university classrooms. The documentary covers relevant current topics that include immigration, gender, race, and feminism in our globalized world.

Why Teach This Film?

By watching Vanishing Borders, students can learn about immigration from the perspective of individual women who have come into this country and enriched the communities they inhabit. More often than not, the media portrays immigrants as abstract threats to the American way of life. When thinking of immigration, we often envision  fences, border patrols, criminal behavior, and menial jobs. Through experiencing the stories of Yatna, Daphnie, Melainie, and Teboho, students come to know the human side of immigration, helping them see how immigration does not dilute our country’s culture, but enriches and strengthens it.

Conversations about immigration can allow instructors to introduce terms like “cultural hybridity” and the metaphorical “Other” to their students. Other key concepts like national identity and its ties to place of origin versus place of residence can also be explored as well as topics surrounding globalization, race, gender roles, feminism, and first vs. second generation immigration.

Which Courses Are the Right Fit?

High school courses such as the following could greatly benefit from screening Vanishing Borders:

  • American History
  • Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Global/World Issues
  • Multi-Cultural/World Literature
  • Social Studies
  • Sociology
  • World Cultures
  • World History

College courses such as the following could add this film to their curriculum:

  • African American/African/Chican@/Latin@/Asian American Studies
  • American Studies/Cultures
  • Anthropology
  • Film Studies
  • Gender and Women’s Studies
  • Global Studies
  • History
  • Human Geography
  • Social Science
  • Sociology

How Do I Organize a Classroom Screening?

For sample study guides with discussion questions, visit our Screening Resources page.

Depending on when the screening takes place, director and producer Alexandra Hidalgo or producer and director of photography Shanele Alvarez are available to join post-screening discussions. For some geographical locations, Alexandra or Shanele may be able to attend in person, for others they can participate through video chat, answering any questions students may have about the film and the topics it covers. Contact us regarding availability.