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AU Scholars | Spring 2016 Research Courses

Human Migration: Policy, Politics and Identity

Course Time: W 8:55am -- 11:35am

What is migration? Why do people, sometimes vast numbers of people, suddenly decide to uproot their lives and move to another town, another state, or another country? And how do those places receiving, and losing, population cope with these changes? Importantly, in an increasingly inter-connected world, what are the implications for individual and group identities?

This course will allow students to explore one of the most important intersections of policy and human experience –the migrant, the immigrant, the émigré, and the policies and politics that try to govern the movement of people all over the world. At a time when this issue, always an issue in international studies, has burst onto the screens and pages of world news. In the United States we have been preoccupied with immigration –both legal and illegal –for most of our history as a nation. Once referred to as the world's "Melting Pot" we now have debates about building walls to secure our borders, how to facilitate the necessary movement of itinerant farm works –sometimes referred to as migrant workers. The situation in Europe, the Middle East, parts of Africa and Asia could not be more stark. Men, women, and children are hourly put in jeopardy for their very lives as they try to make their way across land and sea.

This research course provides students with a unique opportunity to conduct field research on current migrant issues in the United States and the crisis in Europe. Students will investigate the cultural, structural and social factors that inform the patterns, lived experiences, and policies towards migrants in both the United States and European contexts. In addition to qualitative analysis, participants will seek out migrant communities in DC to discuss their lived experiences of migration, and the policies which have affected them. Students will then travel to Brussels, Belgium, the headquarters of the European Union, over Spring Break (March 6-13, 2016) to explore these themes through site visits, lectures, and interviews with policymakers, nonprofit organizations, and scholars. Through this research course, students will learn how to frame a relevant research question, formulate an appropriate research design, carry out a qualitative field research project, and present their findings. 

Whether you are interested in US immigration policy, current conflicts in the Africa and the Middle East, or the economic, social, or security implications of the mass migration in to Europe, this course will help to put all of these issues in to a global and historical context. Background in migration or European studies not required but an open mind is! Course fee: $3,100