Immigration Across Time and Space: Race, Nation, and Citizenship in the Expanding United States

History 137AC

Fall 2013
Day & Time: 
TuTh 930-11A
  • This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
  • It has been said that the United States is "A Nation of Immigrants." In this course we will think about our country as the home of immigrants, as a diverse and sometimes tense place, and then we will seek to understand what this means for our country's past, present, and future. Each of you is already participating in the making of United States immigration history -- by virtue of your position as an immigrant or descendant of immigrants, or by your participation (or lack thereof) in the current "Immigration Debate." Over the course of the semester you will learn about the formative role that immigration has and continues to play in United States history. We will see that immigrants as well as immigration policy have been frequently linked to ideas around race, culture, and ethnicity. Moving across national boundaries provoked changes, for instance, in self identification as well as perceptions of immigrants' racial and ethnic status. So too is immigration (necessarily a movement across national borders) inextricably tied to ideas of citizenship and the nation. In the case of the United States, national boundaries have expanded dramatically over the course of its approximately two hundred year history. This territorial expansion as well as the expansion of United States power around the globe has helped to define who is an immigrant, to shape who decides to immigrate to the U.S., and to drive federal policy and public opinion on immigration.