Of the many contested policy issues that have risen to national attention since Trump’s presidency, perhaps none have been as controversial as the issue of immigration. Proposals about “the border wall,” deportations, family separation policies, militarizing the border, and the banning of entire groups of people have received both praise and criticism. Yet, while debates about immigration policies have intensified, these conversations are certainly not new ones. In fact, immigration—and U.S. responses to it—have a long history defined by contradictions and shifting priorities.
Through stimulating discussions and activities, students will explore the history of immigration, deportation, and refugee policies enacted in response to past humanitarian crises. Students will investigate past and current U.S. border-making and monitoring; studying the use of immigrant processing centers, such as Ellis Island and Angel Island, as well as walls, policing, and detention centers. Students will also dive deeper into an analysis of how people with power; including politicians, doctors, employers, and the police, shaped immigration policy in the twentieth century, creating a foundation for today's policies and politics. This course will also require students to engage in transnational analyses to study the push and pull factors that dictate flows of immigrants. Ultimately, through immigration history and critical refugee studies, students will achieve a more nuanced understanding of the longstanding contradictions present in immigration laws, policing, and policies in the United States that influence global patterns of moment. A critical understanding of immigration, past and present, can help shape new policies and offer alternative futures. Students will apply this understanding to current events and as they develop their own Action plan.
This course provides a comprehensive foundation for future studies in a wide range of interdisciplinary humanities and social science fields including: history, anthropology, public policy, American studies, political science, and legal studies. Students with a wide array of career interests will find the course material relevant and applicable.
This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Enrollment in this program requires several hours of online engagement prior to campus arrival. This online participation can be completed at any time where internet access is available. Once on campus, participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.
Prerequisites: None required.
Monica Muñoz Martinez is the Stanley J. Bernstein Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown. She received her PhD in American Studies from Yale University. At Brown she offers courses in Latinx studies, immigration, histories of violence, and public memory in US History. Her first book, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in the Texas Borderlands, is forthcoming with Harvard University Press (Fall 2018). In 2017 she was selected for the prestigious Carnegie Fellows Program. The fellowship provides the “country’s most creative thinkers with grants of up to $200,000 each to support research on challenges to democracy and international order.” Martinez is also a faculty fellow at the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and at the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America. Martinez is the primary investigator for Mapping Violence, a digital project that documents histories of racial violence in Texas. She is a founding member of the non-profit organization Refusing to Forget that calls for a public reckoning with racial violence in Texas. The team developed an award-winning exhibit for the Bullock Texas State History Museum and also helped secure four state historical markers along the US-Mexico border. She was born and raised in Texas.