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Migration Courses

Fall 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.

Migration in the Contemporary World: California and Beyond 

Course number: 32653 & 32658
Instructor: Catherine Ceniza Choy, Seth M. Holmes
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 11:00 AM -12:30 PM
Description: This course is designed to allow students to delve into the topic of migration in the contemporary world. Readings, discussions, and assignments will focus on 1) past and present immigration to California and Beyond 2) the impact of immigration in relations to labor, health, and the environment and 3) contemporary immigrant activism and organizing. A primary goal of the course is to utilize sociocultural theories to describe the experiences of immigrants in the U.S. Students will communicate what they are learning through discussions, weekly reading, reflection, academic papers, and an Op-Ed. A variety of teaching methods will be employed including lectures, discussions, and guest presentations (authors and individuals featured in books).

Freshman/ Sophomore Seminar Refugees and Forced Migration- What are the Problems and What are the Solutions

Course number: 25458
Instructor: Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Schedule: Friday 12:00 PM - 1:59 PM
Description: This Freshman/Sophomore seminar will be a "thinkery" for freshman and sophomores. We will gather together at the end of the week to discuss current events bearing on the current 'crisis' of global immigration and its relationship to many factors from climate change, political chaos, drug cartels, poverty, and violence. Although this is a global phenomenon, we will focus on the US borderlands. We will examine the so-called 'catastrophe' of mass migrations from the point of view of the migrants themselves who are fleeing for their lives from political and domestic violence, drug cartels, gangs death squads, and extreme poverty, for which US policies in Central America are partly responsible. We will read both scholarly and timely journalistic coverage of US immigration policies including Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump's " Zero Tolerance" for children. Drawing on anthropological and ethnographic descriptions of migrants' experiences in crossing the borders, detention policies by US agents ICE and Homeland security and the government policy of 'deterrence' by forcing migrants to cross borders at isolated and dangerous routes. We will address the climate of race hatred and exaggerated fears of the stranger and where these sentiments arise and how they are fueled. In contrast, we will compare other nations ways of dealing with the immigrant crisis. We will also look at various moments when free speech, hate speech, censorship, civil rights, and human rights are in contestation. What, if any are the limits of free speech in a democratic society? What is hate speech? How do institutions like the university respond to confrontations that involve racial violence? What are the alternatives to violent forms of venting and confrontations? The seminar will evolve according to the concerns, needs, and requests of the student participants.

Muslims in America

Course number: 21130
Instructor: Hatem Ahmad Bazian
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday 5:00 PM - 6:29 PM
Description: This course traces Islam's journey in America. It will deal with the emergence of identifiable Muslim communities throughout the U.S. and focus on patterns of migration, the ethnic makeup of such communities, gender dynamics, political identities, and cases of conversion to Islam. The course will spend considerable time on the African American, Indo-Pakistani, and Arab American Muslim communities since they constitute the largest groupings. It also examines in-depth the emergence of national, regional, and local Muslim institutions, patterns of development pursued by a number of them, and levels of cooperation or antagonism. The course seeks an examination of gender relations and dynamics across the various Muslim groupings and the internal and external factors that contribute to real and imagined crisis. The course seeks to conduct and document the growth and expansion of mosques, schools, and community centers in the greater Bay Area. Finally, no class on Islam in America would be complete without a critical examination of the impacts of 9/11 on Muslim communities, the erosion of civil rights, and the ongoing war on terrorism. 

Asian Diaspora from an Asian American Perspective

Course number: 24386
Instructor: Lok Siu
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00 PM - 3:29 PM
Description: Analyzes the global presence of an Asian group with a significant U.S. population: migration/settlement history, transnational economic/political/cultural interactions between diasporic communities and with the land of origin, impact on Asian American community/identity formation. The instructor selects group(s). 

Mexican Immigration

Course number: 21327
Instructor: Pablo Gonzalez
Schedule: Monday 4:00 PM - 6:59 PM
Description: 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 change

Carribean Migration to Western Europe and the United States

Course number: 21340 
Instructor: Ramon Grosfoguel
Schedule: Tuesday 6:00 PM - 8:59 PM
Description: The main goal of this course is to offer a broad and comprehensive understanding of the Caribbean migration experience to the United States. We will cover crucial issues such as the migration origins, modes of incorporation, racism, cultural/identity strategies, and the political-economic relationship between the country of origin and the metropolitan host society. To understand the specificity of Caribbean migrants to the USA, it is fundamental to understand the regional Caribbean migration circuits to Western Europe. Thus, the course will provide a comparative perspective with Caribbean migrations to Western Europe. 

Accelerated Reading and Composition: "Aliens" -- from Outer Space and Other Places

Course number21418
Instructor: Mary Grover
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00 AM - 11:59 AM
The blatant effort to scapegoat undocumented immigrants as “illegal aliens,” noncitizens become merely a screen onto which the public is invited to project their fears and anxieties. In much the same way, aliens in science-fiction texts often serve this purpose as well, becoming the embodiment of unprocessed feelings harbored in the psyche of viewers and readers who are, to some extent, alienated from themselves. This course examines constructions of the “alien other”—from outer space and other countries—in order to understand the social, political, and psychological forces that come into play in the process of “othering.” We will be analyzing films and books that illuminate that process. Through critical reading, class discussion, and the process of writing and revision, we will interrogate the structures of power that enable “othering.” The course also introduces students to fundamentals of academic essay writing, with an emphasis on how advanced techniques for the organization, quoting, analysis, and argument can be learned through study, practice, and transference.

Introduction to Comparative Literature: Displaced Narratives

Course number: 31340
Instructor: Karl A Britto
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 12:30 PM - 1:59 PM
Description: In this course, we will consider a variety of written and cinematic texts, all of which foreground the movement of individuals or communities across national borders. Over the course of the semester, we will discuss a number of interrelated questions: how do contemporary writers attempt to come to terms with the profound historical ruptures and geographic displacements brought about by the experience of transnational movement? How do they seek to render into language and narrative the confusion of conflicting cultural structures, and in what ways are their characters recast by their status as immigrants or refugees? How do these authors represent bodies as objects that circulate within transnational circuits, variously commodified, eroticized, or pathologized? How are the categories of gender and sexuality inflected by histories of migration? In our discussions, we will consider the specificity of each text while remaining open to insights made possible by reading comparatively. In other words, our goal will not be to synthesize a monolithic theory of literature and displacement, but rather to analyze individual texts while remaining attentive to common textual strategies, formal elements, and practices of representation. Texts under consideration will likely include: lê thị diễm thúy, The Gangster We Are All Looking For; Edwige Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory; Azouz Begag, Shantytown Kid; Jamaica Kincaid, Lucy; Leila Sebbar, Shérazade; Moshin Hamid, Exit West; Ousmane Sembène, “The Promised Land”/La Noire de...; Marie N’Diaye, Three Strong Women; Knight/Frears, Dirty Pretty Things

Immigration: What do the Data Tell Us?

Course number: 25347
InstructorCarl 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.

Topics in American Studies: Harlem Renaissance

Course number: 25146, 31131
InstructorBryan Wagner
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 PM - 4:59 PM
Description: The 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 relationship between modern art and folk tradition. Weekly writing, two exams, and two essays.

The Southern Border

Course number: 21746, 21796, 28943 
Instructor: Harley S Shaiken
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 PM - 4:59 PM
Description: The wall, deportations, and xenophobic rhetoric have focused national and international attention on the southern border of the United States. Stretching from California to Florida, the border is a cultural mosaic, a zone that brings together diverse cultural identities and experience­s from the North and the South. It is also a place where one can­ see larger social, economic, and political processes at work on both sides of the boundary. In this course, we will examine these larger forces and their impact in the context of globalization in general and Latin America and the U.S. in particular.

The Making of Multicultural America: A Comparative Historical Perspective

Course number: 21910
Instructor: Gregory P Choy
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 10:00 AM - 10:59 AM
Description: How and why did American society become racially and ethnically diverse? This comparative study of racial minorities and European immigrant groups examines selected historical developments, events, and themes from the 17th century to the present.

Advanced Seminar in Ethnic Studies "Inside and Beyond Walls: Migra, Masses, and the Carceral State"

Course number25718
Instructor: Victoria Ellen Robinson
Schedule: Wednesday 2:00 PM - 4:59 PM
Description: The course has three main avenues of exploration. First, we seek to understand the political historical structural and social roots of racialized mass incarceration and racialized mass detention and deportation. Second, we examine the work of practitioners, scholars, and activists developing critical analyses and abolitionist strategies for social change through their analytical connections between seemingly disconnected forms of state violence. Lastly, whilst the effects of mass incarceration can be quantified to some extent, and those numbers are often the bi-line for many studies, the damages wrought by these realities are only now being excavated. In the race to incarcerate and detain/deport what does it mean to live in a community where three out of every ten boys growing up will spend time in prison, what does it do to the fabric of a family to have parents suspended in deportation hearings, and what does it mean to a community’s political influence when one quarter of black men in some states cannot vote because of a felony conviction? We seek to integrate the work of both the student’s own story and those directly affected by mass incarceration, detention, and deportation. In so doing we will also analyze the organizing of Bay Area and state community organizations such as the Transgender and Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP); All of Us Or None; The UC Black Workers Organizing Project; 67 Suenos; Oakland UNITE and Critical Resistance

Special Topics in Asia: Immigration and Multiculturalism in Asia

Course number: 25235
InstructorKeiko Yamanaka
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 11:00 AM - 11:59 AM
Description: Advanced multidisciplinary research on current issues and topics related to Asia. This Global Studies course will focus on specific issues related to Asia with appropriate comparative material included. Topics will change depending on the instructor teaching.

International Human Rights

Course number: 25123
Instructor: Darren C Zook
Schedule: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 PM - 4:59 PM
Description: This course will explore the philosophical evolution of human rights principles in the realm of political theory and the influence of such principles as they have transformed into a coherent body of law. We will focus specifically on issues in international human rights law; the approach will be both thematic and comparative. Topics will include but are not limited to: human rights diplomacy; the influence of human rights in international legal practice; cultural and minority rights; genocide and the world community; cultural relativism and national sovereignty; international law and international relations; individual and collective rights; migration, labor, and globalization; and national, international, and nongovernmental organizations

A Sustainable World: Challenges and Opportunities

Course number: 32687
Instructor: David Malcolm Potts
Schedule: Wednesday 3:00 PM - 4:59 pm
Description: Human activity and human numbers threaten the possibility of irreversible damage to the fragile biosphere on which all life depends. The current generation of students is the first one to face this existential problem and it may be the last one that can solve it. The goal of this course is for faculty with expertise in the many variables involved-energy consumption, food security, population growth, and family planning, climate change, governance, migration, resource consumption, etc.-to give one-hour presentations on their specific topic. Teacher Scholars supervised by a GSI will facilitate student discussion groups, who will then prepare brief statements responding to the challenge presented, and suggest ways of ameliorating the problems 

The Philosophy of Race, Ethnicity, and Citizenship

Course number24751
Instructor: Timothy D Crockett
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:00 PM - 1:59 PM
Description: This course explores philosophical questions of race, ethnicity, and citizenship, with special attention to the experiences of African Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, and indigenous peoples of the United States.  Topics include the meaning of “race,” “ethnicity,” and “citizenship,” border control and immigration, reparations for past wrongs, discrimination and affirmative action, a civic obligation, and group solidarity, and the right to vote.

Political Economy, Culture, and Globalization: The Historical Roots of Contemporary Problems

Course number23577
Instructor: Richard Ashcroft
Schedule: Wednesday 3:00 PM - 5:59 PM
Description: Contemporary liberal democratic governance is in crisis, as various forms of globalization continue to put pressure on nation-states across the world. Widespread suspicion of domestic political elites has led to disillusionment with the democratic process and an upsurge in populism worldwide. The Financial Crisis of 2008 has exacerbated growing income inequality both within and between states, adding further pressure to domestic welfare provision creaking after years of neoliberal attacks. And the postwar consensus in favor of domestic multiculturalism has fractured following 9/11, the War on Terror, and the rise of Islamophobia. Allegations of Russian interference in the divisive US Presidential elections of 2016 have added to the uncertainty, and the surprise decision by the UK to leave the EU has unsettled the rest of Europe even as it struggled to cope with the 2015 refugee crisis and a resurgence of the far-right across the continent. Terror attacks in the UK, Europe, the US, and beyond have contributed to the sense of global instability, as have other forms of violence in domestic arenas, particularly those relating to gender, race, immigration, and policing. This course traces the historical roots of this contemporary crisis of liberal democracy back through the various forms of globalization—economic, political, and cultural—that have occurred over the last one hundred years. We will examine the ongoing legacies of imperialism, the World Wars, decolonization, the Cold War, the spread of Human Rights, postwar multiculturalism, developmental economics, and the rise of neoliberalism. We will unpack the consequences of the last century of globalization through looking at a series of national cases drawn from the British Commonwealth, Continental Europe, and North America, and assess the ramifications of these cases for liberal democratic theory and practice.

Junior Seminar: Immigration and Citizenship in Comparative Perspective

Course number: 17314
Instructor: Amy Gurowitz
Schedule: Thursday 12:00 PM - 1:59 PM
Description: International migration is reshaping politics, economics, and social relations around the world. No longer confined to the traditional countries of immigration, people are migrating to new areas across the globe and changing the ethnic composition of many parts of the developed and developing world. Migrant workers play a significant role in the global economy, fueling many sectors of the economy in the developed world, and serving as sources of foreign exchange for less developed countries. Many aspects of our own domestic economy could not function without migrant labor. Yet we see a backlash against immigrants. This course will examine international migration from a historical and comparative perspective looking at why people migrate, how citizens respond to that migration, and how different states cope with migration domestically and internationally. The first part of the course looks at the changing relationship between the state, immigrants, and citizenship. We then turn to case studies. We will examine four different types of receiving states: a traditional immigrant state, a post-colonial state, a non-traditional immigrant, and a highly industrialized latecomer state.

Immigrants and Refugees in the U.S

Course number: 29718
Instructor: Julian Chow
Schedule: Tuesday 2:00 PM - 3:59 PM
Description: Overview of immigration policy in the U.S. from an international and historical perspective. Theories of migration, transnationalism, and adaptation will be addressed, along with skills required for working with refugees and immigrants facing difficulties. Addresses the impact of policy on who comes to the U.S. and the circumstances newcomers and their families face once here. 

Reading and Composition: Migrant Lives

Course number: 29751
Instructor: Gautam Premnath
Schedule: Monday, Wednesday 5:00 PM - 6:29 PM
Description: In our time unprecedented numbers of people are living lives in motion. War, climate change, social upheaval, and economic insecurity push migrants from the places of their birth; hope pulls them toward new points on the map. Together we will read and write about narratives that emerge from and bear witness to migrant lives.

Sociology of the Family

Course number: 23739
Instructor: Joanna M Reed
Schedule: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1:00 PM - 1:59 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. 

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

Course number: 29787
Instructor: TBD
Schedule:  Monday 4:30 PM - 7:29 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. 

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