Bodies Across Borders: Global Migrations in Historical Perspective - Not offered in AY 2022-23

Undergraduate Program Status

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

This special topics course will explore and seek to connect a long history of neoliberal development and worsening global inequalities that 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 in global 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. Using an intersectional and interdisciplinary framework, 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, the migrant body, all within the context of interrogating gender across (and within) borders. The goal of the course is to expose how today’s discourse of illegality and borders borrows from a 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 completion of the course, students will: 1. Have an understanding of the key methodological developments in the field of global migration and refugee studies, and be able to reflect upon how these intersect with historical trajectories of migration, and more current modes of forced migration, diaspora and labor migration. 2. Have the ability 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. 3. Have the ability to adopt an intersectional approach to the major themes of the course, and understand how gendered experiences and interpretations of migration, both in the past and in the present, shape the ways we conceptualize a ‘new refugee crisis’. 4. Have the ability to identify how interdisciplinary qualitative work adds depth and context to a quantitative and numbers-based approach to understanding migration in the post-1945 period. 5. Have the ability to 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. 6. Have the ability to engage actively with political rhetoric and media influence on the concept of a ‘new crisis’, and speak with some authority on why the idea of a ‘new crisis’ is a dangerous development that threatens to reinforce old Eurocentric boundaries of First and Third World/developed and developing/new and old-world migrants (and their problematic categorizations!).