This seminar will focus on the meaning of transnationalism in a world of migration. With no sign that international migration is slowing down, the causes and consequences of migration will be a critical topic for the 21st century. Over the last two decades a new approach developed in the literature to understand not only migration as a cross-border phenomena but also how we conceive national societies as social spaces. The assessment that nation-state and society normally converge has waned. Instead, we are looking for new perspectives to think about the connections between “here” and “there.” In this respect, the literature on immigrant transnationalism is one of the academic success stories.
Observing that migration produces a variety of connections spanning “home” and “host” societies, as well as linkages among migrants criss-crossing the globe, today’s scholarship emphasizes the limits of assimilation, contending instead that a transnational pattern offers the key to understanding the contemporary immigrant phenomenon.
In this seminar called “introduction to transnational studies” you will learn why the migration research community devotes massive attention to continuously cross border interaction. Though this class is demanding, it is also rewarding. I expect you to devote considerable time and energy to the course. Those unable to make the commitment should not enroll. In return, I will share my passion for transnational studies and help you gain a deeper understanding of migration and how to do and evaluate social science research.
Course Goals and Requirements
In general, this is an upper-level graduate seminar with two goals: (1) introduce students to theories and empirical evaluations of transnational migration; and (2) prepare students to engage critically with the literature. That means basically that students should gain in-depth knowledge of the key issues in migration research. Secondly, the students should use this knowledge in order to be able to comment on the current theoretical and empirical questions of migration research.
At the end of the course, students will have acquired substantial understanding of:
• Key definitions and conceptual differences of transnationalism, transnational social spaces and transnationality and apply these concepts and approaches to a variety of cross-border migrations
• Have enhanced analytical writing capabilities and techniques of text understanding.
Students are expected to attend class, to participate in discussion and to have completed the assigned required readings. In each section of the required readings I propose guiding questions that will help you to get through the text. Please answer these questions and it will help you to summarize or highlight important or interesting aspects of the reading for that section. The goal of this is to help you to prepare for discussion in class. Your responses should summarize the most important points of that readings. This entails identifying the central points of the readings and critically analyzing and evaluating them.
My responsibility as a lecture is to set up the conditions that encourage learning and to engage in analytic thinking with you. So this class is not like a theater, where you come and watch me perform. It is more like a lab, where you come in to work with, examine, and enhance the knowledge gained from the readings and from your own experiences. The instructor facilitates and helps elaborate these discussions, but the success of the seminar rests on the engagement of every person in the class.
The key ability I want you to work on in this course is the ability to speak and to write in a way that is both analytic and imaginative --in other words, to perform clear, thoughtful, and creative analyses of challenging problems. In order to do so, we focus in this seminar on
• Oral Presentations
• Group Work
• Writing two short reflection memos before the seminar starts
The Syllabus will follow shortly