History 375

HIST 375
American Immigration

Catalog Entry

HIST 375
American Immigration
Credit Hours: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of HIST at 100 level

This course is a study of immigration in American life. It traces the history of immigration to the United States from the colonial era to the present with a special emphasis on issues of assimilation, pluralism, and multiculturalism.

Detailed Description of Content of Course

List topics or major units; include sub-topics under major units, if appropriate

This course is a study of immigration in American life. The course traces the history of immigration to the United States from the colonial era to the present with special emphasis on issues of assimilation, pluralism, and multiculturalism. Particular attention will be paid to the following topics: the shifting causes and patterns of immigration; the similarities and differences among the experiences of immigrants in the United States; Nativism and the development of immigration restrictions; the effects of immigration on the economic, social, cultural, and political life of the nation. This course traces the history of immigration to the United States, with particular emphasis on immigration during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although the course will proceed chronologically, we will address ourselves to several principal issues. One focus of the course will be to examine changing immigration patterns and the historical causes and contexts that brought different groups of migrants to the U.S. at different times. Another focus will be on the contours of the “immigrant experience” in the United States, and one of our challenges will be to try to explore meaningful similarities and differences among various immigrants’ experiences over time. How did race, ethnicity, gender, migration goals, class, religion, timing, area of settlement, and other factors shape the experiences of immigrants to the United States? A third, closely related, theme will be on the ways that Americans have received immigrants. We will explore the historical development of American “nativist” movements and efforts to restrict immigration.

a. List topics or major units:
•    Immigration in a Global Perspective
•    Immigration to the American Colonies: Patterns and Legacies
•    Immigration to the New Nation
•    Passages to America: European Patterns: Irish, Germans, Scandinavians
•    The Immigrant in 19th Century America: Rural and Urban Perspectives
•    The New Immigrants: Eastern and Southern Europe: Who Were They?
•    The Working Lives of Immigrants
•    Work, Social/Economic Mobility and Return Migration
•    Passages to America: Asian Patterns: The Chinese and Japanese Experiences
•    The Rising Tide of Nativism
•    Immigrant Women in America
•    The Origins and Development of Mexican Immigration
•    Americanization Campaigns
•    The End of Open Immigration: The National Origins Act
•    World War II: Refugees and Internees
•    Immigration and the Cold War
•    Immigration at the End of the 20th Century: The Battle over Documentation

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course may combine lectures, class discussions based on the assigned readings, media presentations, guest speakers, diverse writing assignments, and other strategies to create a classroom environment that is based on student engagement. The course may also require collaborative research opportunities in both traditional library-based sources and in experiential settings. The instructor will provide the academic support services that students need in order to succeed.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed this course the students will be able to:

•    Practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.
•    Develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.
•    Apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.
•    Understand the centrality of immigration to United States history.
•    Deepen their awareness of the varied origins of immigrants to the U.S. and of the diverse experiences immigrants encountered in the United States.
•    Explore nativist movements and their effects on immigrants and immigration policy.
•    Evaluate primary source documents that illuminate immigration from a variety of perspectives.

Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.


Review and Approval