Immigration has been a defining feature of U.S. cities since their inception. A rich academic history has documented and theorized the experiences of immigrants in urban areas. Significant increases in immigration to the United States over the last fifteen years, however, make this topic particularly salient. In recent decades, U.S. cities have been transformed by unprecedented rates of migration, particularly from Latin America. Intense conflicts have arisen over urban space, access to social goods (for example housing, healthcare and education) and in some cases there has been a re-working of racial hierarchies. At the same time, however, cities are places of possibility for migrants where they can often enjoy upward mobility, political freedoms, and exciting cultural exchanges. This course provides students with an opportunity to explore these contradictory experiences, drawing on a variety of theoretical and empirical sources.
This course is designed for advanced undergraduates and Master’s students in Geography and Latina/o Studies, though students from related disciplines, such as Sociology, City & Regional Planning, Political Science, and Anthropology are welcome. There are no formal prerequisites for this class, though familiarity with urban studies, economic sociology, urban politics, and/or migration theory would be an asset.