Fair 201a/203a (Linked) Coming to America
Do you want to think about migration to America, free or forced and including colonial settlement, personally, creatively, and through research and social theory? Do you want to satisfy your critical and reflective inquiry (201a) and social relationships and responsibilities (203a) requirements in a block course with expert faculty and diverse peers? If so, please read on.
The phrase “Coming to America” often conjures up the image of tired, hungry and poor immigrants standing on a ship’s deck mesmerized by Lady Liberty while arriving at Ellis Island. Nowadays, a newcomer might arrive at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City, be hidden deep in the bowels of a cargo ship inside a container originally built for boxes and dock along the seacoast, or ride a freight train to the country’s border and then walk. This course examines the historical and contemporary journeys and experiences of individuals, families, and social groups who “came” to this country. The word “came” is in quotation marks because not every arrival was desired or planned; in the 1700s, West Africans were kidnapped and forcibly shipped to these shores never to see their families or homelands again.
Does every newcomer experience a sense of bewilderment, loss, and confusion, and how do they eventually gather the spiritual and emotional energy to find their bearings and begin life again? How have newcomers’ experiences varied, including perhaps your own families’? What obstacles have they faced and opportunities have they created to survive and, ideally, thrive in this land?
To help you gain personal and historical understanding, do research and analyze various sources, we will (as a class) learn to critically read different “texts” (this includes written, aural, and visual), engage in deep discussions (“seminaring”), conduct research at the library, do oral interviews, and write papers on how your families came to this country. Do you want to develop your personal (educational autobiography, migration story), research (annotated bibliography, question, documented paper), and expository (textual analysis) writing skills in one streamlined course?
Social and political theory invites us to think about the meaning, criteria, benefits, and burdens of membership in modern societies? Was the United States more equal than European societies because it lacked an aristocracy and rigid class structures? Or is domination and subordination reproduced and inscribed in American society between settlers and natives, planters and slaves, “Whites” and people of color, men and women, Protestants and Catholics or Christians and Muslims, straights and queers in other ways that are linked to our past and present (im)migrations?
Course Benefits: 1) Deep personal and intellectual relationships with your peers and professors; 2) integration of personal and political learning and personal and academic genres of writing and expression; 3) balanced load of reading, research, and writing assignments across the course of the quarter. Develop your personal (educational autobiography, migration story), research (annotated bibliography, question, documented paper), and expository (textual analysis) writing skills in one streamlined course.
David Gerber, American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction
Reyna Grande, The Distance Between Us
Hiroshi Motomura, Immigration Outside the Law (2014)
Harsha Walia, Undoing Border Imperialism (2013)
Credit/Evaluation: 1) Faithful Attendance – you may not miss more than two classes, except in exceptional circumstances, to receive credit; 2) engaged, spirited and civil participation; 3) an educational autobiography; 3) all of the steps of a multi-stage quarter long research project: i) a battery of research questions; ii) a list of sources; iii) a paper outline; iv) expositions of migration theorists’ ideas; v) an annotated bibliography; vi) a full paper draft; vii) a group presentation; viii) a final paper
How to register: Eligible students can get registration codes for both 201A and 203A from Anna Blick (Anna.Blick@wwu.edu) or Jackie McClure (Jackie.McClure@wwu.edu). Both sections must be taken together as class time will flow between both courses. Students must simultaneously register for the following CRNs after receiving override permission from Fairhaven College: 44034 and 44035