Bodies Across Borders: Global Migration in Historical Perspective

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Description: 

This 4-credit course will explore and seek to understand how the ‘long dureè’of neoliberal development and worsening global inequalities are connected to structurally determined constructions, as well as material realities, of gender, race and sexuality in the context of global migration. The course connects contemporary trends inglobal migrations with a historical understanding of how and why migrants move, as well as how modern nation-states have developed a precedent for inclusion and exclusion on the basis of who has the potential to ‘belong’ as a participating citizen. Thecourse explores the role of memoryand in particular the idea of collective memory -in the development of the nation-state, in addition to how the intersection of studies of memory andmigration can offer a useful tool to explore how identity is reconstructed and expressed beyond "home". The course is organized into key topics that attempt to create an intellectual narrative (or guide map) to constructions of nations, borders, categories of legal and illegal migrants, and the migrant body. The goal of the course is to expose how today’s gendered discourses of illegality and borders, respectively,borrow from a much longer history of state-sovereignty premised upon constructing and excluding the ‘other’. Bringing new discussions to bear on established bodies of work in migration studies, ethnic studies of migrant communities, and histories of immigration and exclusion, the course draws upon postcolonial and post-structural feminist and gender critiques of ‘new migrations’, and the ways in which the human costs of migration are intricately linked to global trends in environmental, financial, and cultural development.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:


Identify and engage with the major themes outlined in the course syllabus, and offer a critical interpretation of all class readings assigned to these themes.


Understand the key methodological developments in the field of global migration and refugee studies


Understand how gendered experiences and interpretations of migration, both in the past and in the present, shape the ways we conceptualize the “new refugee crisis”.


Identify how interdisciplinary qualitative work adds depth and context to a quantitative and numbers-based approach to global migrations in the post-1945 period.

Draw upon key concepts in migration theory and employ these towards and integrative approach to exploring how and why the ‘new crisis’ opens up new fields of inquiry into the gendering of migration routes and experiences globally.



Active Class Participation                                                                       25%

Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliography                                     25%

Final Paper                                                                                                50%