Immigrant America

The United States is often referred to as a nation of immigrants. As in centuries past, immigration continues to transform U.S. society. Today, the foreign-born population in the U.S. is the biggest in the world and is more diverse than ever before. Yet, despite its long history and large presence, immigration remains a hotly debated issue that presents complex economic, political, and social challenges for the U.S. This course will examine the complexities of contemporary U.S. immigration from diverse perspectives. The course is organized around three sets of key questions. The first set of questions addresses motivations for immigration and for U.S. immigration policy: Who immigrates to the U.S. and why? Why are some immigrants wanted while others are not? Can the U.S. control immigration? The second set of questions explores the consequences of immigration for immigrants and their families: How do immigrants and their children adapt to U.S. society? What social factors affect their adaptation? Can they become full members of U.S. society? The third set of questions examines the impacts of immigration on U.S. society: Does immigration create social and economic benefits or burdens for the U.S.? Why are immigrants sometimes perceived as a threat to national identity? In discussing these questions, this course will cover a wide range of themes including assimilation and integration, racialization, citizenship, gender, generational conflict, transnationalism, immigration policy, and attitudes toward immigration (e.g. ethnocentrisim, nativism, xenophobia).