A Nation of Immigrants?
The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Oscar Handlin famously wrote, “Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history.” This course explores the history of the United States from its colonial beginnings to today, with a focus on the place of immigrants and the laws governing immigration in shaping the history and meaning of the nation. The debates over immigration tie into larger debates about the very definition of the United States and American identity. In this one-day course, we will study not only various waves of immigrant groups that have come to the United States in the last 350 years, but also the legal and political questions that have arisen during periods of immigration and restriction. Readings may include selections from Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America; Lucy E. Salyer, Laws Harsh as Tigers: Chinese Immigrants and the Shaping of Modern Immigration Law; Sarah Gualtieri, Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora; and Hasia R. Diner, Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration.
You'll Walk Away with
- An understanding of America’s complicated and sometimes contradictory history with immigration
- Increased familiarity with the legal and political issues surrounding immigration
- All members of the community—working, retired, and in between
- The curious and creative