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Migration Courses

Spring 2019 Courses

UC Berkeley offers a wide variety of courses touching upon the issue of migration. Want to find more courses? Continue looking for courses at UC Berkeley here or find Law courses at UC Berkeley here.

Advanced Studies in International and Area Studies

Course number22617
Instructor: Tiffany L. Page
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 pm - 1:59 pm
DescriptionInternational migration has been growing rapidly in recent decades. While the rise of neoliberalism has made borders more permeable for goods and capital, borders have not become more permeable for people and in some cases have become less permeable. There are various factors that drive migration, including refugees fleeing violence and/or the impacts of climate change, economic migrants escaping poverty and lack of economic opportunity, and involuntary human trafficking. Immigration has transformed receiving countries into multicultural societies, which has strained traditional notions of national identity, and is increasingly producing a nativist backlash. In this course, we will explore global migration patterns, what drives migration, immigration policies, the rise of nativism and xenophobia, and the impacts of migration on sending and receiving countries.

Image and Counter-Image: Unthinking Migration

Course number19787
Instructor: Stefania Pandolfo
Schedule: Monday 10:00 am - 11:59 am
Description: Seminar for the advanced study of the subject matter of a previously given upper division course, emphasizing reading and discussion. 

Seminar in Historical Research and Writing for History Majors: Latin America and Race, Gender, and Migration in the Americas

Course number25554
InstructorElizabeth B. Schwall
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday 2:00 pm - 3:59 pm
Description: This class aims to support students with thesis projects on Latin America and the Caribbean, including any aspect of political, social, cultural, or economic history. The class also welcomes those interested in race, gender, and migration in the Americas more broadly or examining Latin America comparatively in world history. We will work together on developing research questions, finding and analyzing primary sources (especially in Spanish and Portuguese when possible), situating original analysis in relation to prior scholarship, and developing a well-written final paper. Given the rich sources available at the Bancroft Library, students will have the opportunity (and be encouraged) to analyze relevant archival materials in their backyard. Students will produce a compelling piece of scholarly research, and in the process, sharpen valuable transferrable skills of time management, research, clear writing, and originality.  Planning ahead is key to your success. Students should meet with the instructor about research interests and potential thesis topics (or correspond if not on campus) well before the beginning of the spring semester, ideally before November 15.

Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia: Cultural Histories and Migrating Identities

Course number31929
Instructor: Penelope S. C. Edwards
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:29 pm
DescriptionThis seminar explores the cultural, economic, social, political and religious history of Chinese in Southeast Asia. Our central emphasis is the modern era (19th to 2oth century). Through primary texts in translation - including travelogues, novels, memoirs, newspapers and cinema - we will develop our skills in source analysis as we examine changing patterns in, perceptions of, and persecution of, Chinese residents in colonial and postcolonial Southeast Asia. Students have the opportunity to specialize in an era, community and country of choice in a final research project. Our focus countries are Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The (Re)Peopling of America: Immigrants and Immigration as U.S. History

Course number26237
Instructor: Brendan A. Shanahan 
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:00 pm - 1:59 pm
DescriptionThis course explores the history of immigration to the United States. It employs a long chronology. We will examine the history migration to and within the space now known as the United States from the colonial era to the early twenty-first century. In this class, we will especially study how and why: (1) myriad populations have crossed borders to enter the United States (and in what ways their migration stories compare, contrast, and intersect), (2) immigrants have encountered and contested restrictions to their rights owing to ethno-racial, gendered, and citizenship barriers, and (3) immigrants and their children have been shaped by, contested, and in turn reshaped the very definition of belonging in American society. By returning to these questions, our course critically examines the socio-legal and cultural history of migration to the United States and the (often segmented) integration of diverse first-and second-generation migrant populations into the U.S. political economy.  Above all, this course studies the history of the United States as immigration history.

Economic Demography

Course number30245
Instructor: Joshua R. Goldstein
Schedule: Tuesday 3:00 pm - 4:59 pm
DescriptionEconomic consequences of demographic change in developing and developed countries including capital formation, labor markets, and intergenerational transfers. Economic determinants of fertility, mortality and migration. 


Course number22408
InstructorSharad Charid
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:00 pm - 1:59 pm
DescriptionHow and why are geographical patterns of employment, production, and consumption unstable in the contemporary world? What are the consequences of NAFTA, an expanded European Community, and post-colonial migration flows? How is global restructuring culturally reworked locally and nationally? 

Globalization and Minority American Communities

Course number21318
InstructorSherice Janaye Nelson/Nitoshia LaShawn Ford
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm
DescriptionAn examination of the movement of individuals, ideas, ideologies, and institutions between minority American communities in the U.S. (African Americans, Asians, Chicanos) and their cultures of origin, in the 19th and 20th centuries. The course will utilize the concepts of "migration," "diaspora," "otherness," "multiculturalism," and "global village" and will draw largely on social science perspectives. 

Research Seminar: Selected Issues and Topics: "Theories and Approaches to Inter-Racial Histories of the United States"

Course number: 30733
InstructorChristian O. Paiz
Schedule: Friday 2:00 pm - 4:59 pm
DescriptionThe seminar introduces graduate students to the bourgeoning field of inter-racial histories of the United States. It draws from past and contemporary discussions on racial formation, nationalism, migration and intersectionality to consider the scholarship's central questions  - such as the instances and failures (and/or conditions for) solidarity, the seeming incommensurability of multiple social critiques and the pitfalls of simplified portraits of power constellations. The course uses a diverse collection of manuscripts to provide graduate students with multiple research models, as well as a substantial background in United States historiography.

Topics in American Studies: Harlem Renaissance

Course number30331
InstructorBryan Wagner
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday 5:00 pm - 6:29 pm
DescriptionThe Harlem Renaissance was a cultural movement of black artists and writers in the 1920s. Centered in the Harlem neighborhood in Manhattan, the movement extended outward through international collaboration. We will be reading works by writers including Claude McKay, Langston Hughes, Nella Larsen, and Zora Neale Hurston, as well as manifestos about the nature and function of black art. Themes include migration and metropolitan life, primitivism and the avant garde, diaspora and exile, passing and identity, sexuality and secrecy, and the relation between modern art and folk tradition. Midterm and final exam, weekly writing, and one essay anticipated by preparation assignments.

Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asian Refugees in the U.S

Course number30142
Instructor: Katharya Um
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:29 pm
DescriptionThis course will introduce students to the sociocultural, economic, educational, and political issues facing Southeast Asian refugees in the U.S. While the course focus is on the Asian American experience, references will be made to the pre-migration experiences and histories of the Southeast Asian refugee groups. The processes and problems in the formulation of refugee programs and services in the U.S. also will be addressed in their implications for refugee resettlement and adaptation experience. 

Special Topics in Geography: Post-Socialist Spaces

Course number: 25615
Instructor: Melanie Feakins
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 pm - 1:59 pm
DescriptionThe ‘Fall of the Wall’ in Berlin in 1989 and the USSR break-up in 1991 were events that created unfathomable chaos and inimitable circumstances for transformation of modern developed industrial societies. Using a variety of source materials (books, academic articles, pictures, media representations, films, policy recommendations, ethnographic accounts) we will examine the changes that have been taking place in East Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union in the post-socialist period.  Among the topics dealt with in the class are: territoriality and new citizenship regimes, borders and new forms of exclusion, urban transformations (memory and its destructions, creation of ‘real-estate’, new forms of intensification/abandonment, international architectural competitions), urban migrations and rural desolations, environmental destruction, privatization programs and strategies for oil and food production, prostitution, and human trafficking.

Reading and Composition in History: Refugees in global perspective 1945-2018

Course number22534
Instructor: Angieszka Smelkowska
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 8:30 am - 9:29 am
Description: Since 2000, United Nations marks June 20th as the World Refugee Day in recognition of the severity of the phenomenon at the dawn of the 21st century. The course will examine the issue of displacement due to war, ethnic cleansing, natural disasters, and environmental degradation in historical, legal, and public discourse. We will retrace the development of the concept throughout last century, starting with the creation of  human rights as a legal framework after WWII and culminating with the present understanding, embedded in the 2015 “European migrant crisis.” The course aims to examine the many forms of refugee experience during consecutive historical periods between 1945 and 2015. We will focus on most prominent instances related to WWII, Decolonization, the Cold War, the fall of Communism, and a recent instability in the Middle East. By reading widely through various scholarly and literary forms, from UN reports, legal and historical works, articles from prominent newspapers, memoirs, and graphic novels, we will examine how governments and politicians, NGOs and private citizens frame, discus, and debate the issue. We will also pay close attention to how the refugees themselves talked and continue to talk about their own experience to educate the public, advocate for the community of survivors, and finally, to cope with trauma. 

Language and Social Issues in Africa

Course number: 30967
InstructorSam A. Mchombo
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 2:00 pm - 2:59 am
DescriptionThis is an upper division course dealing with the relevance of language to social issues in African societies. It will focus on political developments in Africa and the use of language in fostering national identity; attaining cultural emancipation; and as a tool of oppression, of maintenance of social relations, and of addressing issues of education and childhood development, etc. The course will examine such issues as the roots of national language policies as influenced by Africa's reaction to colonialism; the role of western languages in African society and the attitudes towards African languages and cultures; the challenges of nation-building in modern African states; the use of African languages in government, education, and technology; the role of language in dealing with the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and other health issues; minority languages, endangered languages, and language preservation; cultural responses to migration and African diaspora: the use of African languages in the age of globalization and information technology. 

Accented Literature: Immigrant Voices in America

Course number: 21953
InstructorAurelia Cojocaru
Schedule: Tueday/Thursday 2:00 pm - 3:59 am
Description“America! I put the word on a page, it is my keyhole,” writes Russian-Jewish-American poet Ilya Kaminsky in a poem that describes his journey from the Soviet Union to America. In this class, we will read literature that explores the multifaceted perspectives immigrants have on America. How do immigrant writers see, learn about, stumble upon the particulars of American life— personally, culturally, socially, politically? What happens to these writers’ memories and perceptions of their origin countries over time? How does their writing intersect with their immigrant identity, shaping and revealing it—do they have a writerly “accent”? Can we use their individual “keyhole” vantage points to understand the whole? We will closely examine travelogues, essays, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and films to help us critically understand both the older, controversial history of European settlement, as well as the more contemporary phenomena of political asylum, exile and immigration. Readings may include poetry by Diana Chang, Czesław Miłosz, Katia Kapovich, Ocean Vuong; novels by Vladimir Nabokov, Junot Diaz; stories and essays by Lara Vapnyar, Aleksandar Hemon. 

Contemporary Immigration in Global Perspective

Course number: 26158
InstructorIrene Bloemraad
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 pm - 1:59 pm
Description: The goal of this course is to introduce students to important academic and political debates around immigration, to discuss processes of immigration, integration and exclusion in different national and cultural contexts, and to look at how the question of immigration plays out in different social and political areas. 

Asian American Literature - World, Nation, Locality

Course number26158
Instructor: Andrew Way Leong
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:00 pm - 1:59 pm
This class provides a foundation for reading Asian American literature at three levels of scale: world, nation, and locality. At the world scale, we will discuss the political origins of the phrase “Asian American” in the late 1960s and how associations with radical forms of political activism such as the Third World Liberation Front informed the invention of the concept of "Asian American literature." We will also look back to short texts from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries to see how a larger, world historical perspective of Asian American literature from the Manila galleon trade through the Spanish American War can illustrate the limitations of historical and literary narratives that focus too heavily on the North Atlantic. At the national scale, we will examine how Asian American writers confronted the anti-Asiatic creation of national borders through immigration exclusions and origin quotas from the 1880s to 1920s. We will trace how the legacies of these exclusions informed later works written during and after ghettoization, internment, and refugee resettlement. Finally, at the scale of "locality," we will focus on ways of reading texts situated in the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.

Mexican Immigration

Course number21788
InstructorPablo Gonzalez
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 9:30 am - 10:59 am
This course provides an overview of Mexican immigration to the United States. The relationship between immigration and Chicano community formation will be examined. Issues addressed include settlement patterns, socialization, educational aspiration, identity transformation, and historical changes. 

Immigration and Citizenship​

Course number26568
InstructorPratheepan Gulasekaram
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 8:00 am - 9:29 am
We often hear that America is a "nation of immigrants." This representation of the U.S. does not explain why some are presumed to belong and others are not. We will examine both historical and contemporary law of immigration and citizenship to see how law has shaped national identity and the identity of immigrant communities. In addition to scholarly texts, we will read and analyze excerpts of cases and the statute that governs immigration and citizenship, the Immigration and Nationality Act. 

Series in Comparative Transnational Theories and Methods

Course number: 25269
Instructor: Ramon Grosfoguel 
Schedule: Tuesday 4:00 pm - 6:59 pm
Description: Research seminar focus is on critical theories and practices in transnational comparative frameworks. 

Immigration: What does the data tell us?

Course number: 25929
Instructor: Carl N. Mason
Schedule: Monday 2:00 pm - 3:59 pm
Description: This course will cover the small but important part of the rich history human migration that deals with the population of the United States--focusing on the 20th and 21st Centuries. We will use the tools of DS8 to answer specific questions that relate to the themes of this course: (1) Why do people migrate? (2) Is immigration good or bad for receiving (and sending) countries? (3) How do immigrants adapt and how do societies change in response? In addition to scientific questions, this course will also address the demographic and political history of immigration in the US -- an understanding  of which is crucial for understanding  both the broad contours of US history and the particular situation in which we find ourselves today.

Sociology of the Family

Course number: 24572
Instructor: Mary E. Kelsey
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 pm - 4:59 pm
Description: In this course, we trace the history of the American family from the 19th-century farm--in which work, medical care, and entertainment went on--to the smaller, more diverse, and subjectively defined family of the 21st century. We also explore ways in which the family acts as a "shock absorber" of many trends including immigration, the increasing social class divide, and especially the growing domination of the marketplace. Finally, we also explore the diversity of family forms associated with social class, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. 

Special Topics in Cultural Studies of the Diaspora

Course number30970
Instructor: Leigh Raiford/Lauren Kroiz
Schedule:  Wednesday 10:00 pm - 12:59 pm
Description: Co-taught by professors in History of Art and African American Studies, this year-long graduate seminar will curate an exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) focused on issues of migration, diaspora, and exile in the visual arts. Our work will take place inside and outside the seminar room. We will read and think critically about the concepts of migration, diaspora and exile, while also selecting the objects, arranging for the loans, researching, crafting label copy, creating an app, and writing press releases. Our exhibition will focus on artworks in BAMPFA collections, but we will also consider collaborations with the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, the Bancroft Library, the College of Environmental Design Archives, and other campus depositories (depending in part on student interests). These collections and curation provide extraordinary opportunities for cutting-edge public research across disciplines. Our exhibition will open in May 2019.

Thinking Through Art and Design at Berkeley

Course number: 22796
Instructor: Peter Glazer
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 12:00 pm - 1:59 pm
Description: This course introduces students to key vocabularies, forms, and histories from the many arts and design disciplines represented at UC Berkeley. It is conceived each year around a central theme that responds to significant works and events on the campus, providing an introduction to the many art and design resources available to students locally. Working across the arts and design disciplines found at UC Berkeley, this course delves into the connections among creative works, the experiences of migration, and the possibilities of personal and/or social transformation. Toward this end, the course will explore certain basic questions: How do we understand the movement of people and change metaphorically and literally? What are the scientific, social, political, religious, and physical forces that motivate migration, and what transformations result from the movement of people from one place to another? How do artists working in literature, visual art, film, performance and design represent and enact the vocabulary of migration—exile, refugee, immigrant, migrant, detainee and related terms? The approach to the course will be relational and comparative in nature, taking into account the diverse experiences of migrants and immigrants—past and present—so to highlight the commonalities and differences of Latino migration with that of others. Building on events and resources of the campus and adjacent communities, this course will offer students the opportunity to explore the diverse dimensions of one of the most significant issues facing this state, the country, and much of the globe. Students enrolled in this course will receive free tickets to selected arts events and exhibits on campus or in the surrounding Bay Area.

Transnational Cinemas

Course number: 30007
Instructor: Deniz Gokturk
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday 2:00 pm - 3:29 pm
Description: This course will explore how experiences of migration, dislocation, or exile are visualized in cinema, and how processes of internationalization in film production and distribution intersect with the projection of a transnational global imagery. Some examples of transnational cinematic connections will be analyzed in historical perspective as well as contemporary examples of "migrant cinema." We will investigate how these films engage with debates about multiculturalism and assimilation/segregation of minorities, as scenarios of itinerancy and mobility are often intertwined with representations of ethnicity and gender.

A Comparative Survey of Racial and Ethnic Groups in the U.S

Course number: 22273
Instructor: Victoria Ellen Robinson
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 am - 12:29 pm
Description: This survey course will examine the historical experiences of European immigrants, African Americans, and Latinos, emphasizing the themes of migration and economic change since the late 19th century. Though the class will focus on the three groups, the course will also address salient features of the experiences of Asian Americans, Native Americans, and recently arrived immigrants in light of the themes of the course. Intragroup differences such as class and gender will be discussed.

Topics in Chicano Studies

Course number: 21797
Instructor: Jesus Vicente  Barraza
Schedule: Thursday 4:00 pm - 6:59 pm
Description: This course will introduce students to specific Chicana/Latina, Native, Asian, & African American art history and cultural practices developed as an essential aesthetic of art made by Artists of Color in the Bay Area. Focus is placed on the politics, ideas, and methods for working in community that are still viable and integral to current art practice with a commitment to social justice. The course will offer hands-on experience in community schools and organizations. Art experience welcome but not required.

Human Rights, Research & Practice

Course number: 24950
Instructor:  Kimberly Alexa Koenig/Eric Stover
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 pm - 4:59 pm
Description: This course provides an overview of international human rights, including the field's historical and theoretical foundations; the jurisprudence of international human rights; empirical insights from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, history, and anthropology; and emerging trends in human rights practice.

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