History | MAKING AMERICAN LIVES
A300 | 2934 | Marsh/marsh


2:30-3:45P     MW     BH208

Topic:  Immigrant Experiences from El Paso to Plymouth Rock
A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section open to undergraduates only

As we watch the Coast Guard pluck boatloads of Haitian immigrants from
dangerously crowded rafts, witness waves of Mexican immigrants pouring
nightly over our southwest border in search of work, listen to debates
about English-only school curriculums and arguments over deportations,
and try to reconcile the promise of the American dream with the
reality of an American society that cannot seem to absorb all the
immigrants it attracts, it is clear that the story of America is, in
large part, the history of immigrants trying to make new lives for
themselves here. In order to understand America today, then, we must
explore the individual experiences of its immigrants. In this course
we will look at several groups of immigrants, but our central focus
will be on Mexican immigration in the late twentieth century,
Japanese-American experiences during World War II, several immigration
waves from the 1870s through the 1910s, the experiences of immigrants
in Indiana before the Civil War, and, finally, the "first" immigrants
to colonial America.

We hope in the end to have a sense of the forms anti-foreignism has
taken in American history and the impact it has had on immigrants'
lives, how each new group of immigrants to America has rekindled the
debate over what it means to be "American," and how the experiences of
immigrants in America often hinge more upon their ethnicity, gender,
and race than upon their individual talents, skills, and hard work.

The course will be team-taught and structured around a combination of
lectures, discussions, and in- and out-of-class activities. Through
this class students will gain experience dealing with a wide array of
historical sources ranging from first-hand accounts and government
documents to movies and Web sites. Students will read a variety of
documents and essays, a general book on American immigration, and view
several videos. There will be two essay exams and two short
out-of-class writing assignments. There is no prerequisite.