2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Immigration: History, Law and Controversy

Revised Last Updated: 11/25/2008

Fall and Winter quarters

Faculty: Sarah Ryan labor studies, Arleen Sandifer law

Major areas of study include U.S. history, immigration history, immigration law, politics, American studies and critical race theory.

Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.

Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will be accepting new students without restriction. Contact faculty at Academic Fair or by email.

Note: This 8-credit program will meet from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. First class will meet in Sem2 D1105.

“In its first words on the subject of citizenship, Congress in 1790 restricted naturalization to ‘white persons.’ . . . [T]his racial prerequisite to citizenship endured for over a century and a half, remaining in force until 1952. From the earliest years of this country until just a generation ago, being a "white person" was a condition for acquiring citizenship.”
-- Ian Haney Lopez, White By Law

Most people do not realize that the notion of the United States as a “European” nation is a construction of law. So, how does our understanding of immigration history and law change if we shift our view from Ellis Island in New York’s harbor to the American West? There, the experience of Mexicans, Latin Americans and Chinese doesn’t fit the sentimentalized story now commonly told about European immigrants – a story of gradual acceptance and assimilation.

In this two-quarter program, we’ll look at the widely varied histories of immigrant groups in the United States, at nativist and immigrant-rights movements, and at the way the law has determined who gets to be an “American.” Since most immigrants came looking for work, how did unions and working class organizations respond to their presence, and how were unions, in turn, shaped by immigrants? The focus of fall’s work will be immigration history, particularly the view from the West, and the history of immigration laws. Students will develop some basic legal skills through reading and researching important cases as they trace these histories. In winter, we’ll look at the issues that have arisen in the last two decades and at current controversies about immigration, immigrant workers, labor movements, and the varied ways communities respond to the most recent immigration boom.

Credits: 8 per quarter

Enrollment: 50

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in history, law, labor organizing, government and politics and management.

Planning Units: Culture, Text and Language, Society, Politics, Behavior and Change, 8-12 Credit Programs

Program Revisions

Date Revision
August 26th, 2008 Added location of first class
November 17th, 2008 Winter quarter enrollment details added.
November 25th, 2008 Winter quarter enrollment details refined.