Soc 438/538 US Immigration Issues in the 21st Century
Prerequisite: Sociology 204 or 206 completed
Credits: This course is worth 4 credits
Course Director: Professor Dwaine Plaza
Office: 302 Fairbanks Hall Office Phone: 737-5369
Course Director’s Office Hours: Monday/Wednesday 17:00-18:00
Course Web Page Address: Blackboard
Meetings: 14:00-15:50 pm Classroom: FURM 101
The primary objective of this course is to provide students with a critical overview of immigration to the United States from a socio-historic perspective. Immigration continues to be one of the most important forces in American society today often altering racial dynamics, influencing families, putting pressure on education systems, and influencing culture. This course will examine how successive waves of immigrants have influenced American society from the earliest groups of Europeans in the 19th century to the most recently arriving immigrants from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. The course will examine the predominant theories of international immigration and study the relationships between the historical and contemporary context. The course will answer such questions as: (a) why do people leave their homelands? (b) where do newcomers to the United States settle; (c) what jobs do immigrants hold; (d) how do immigrant children (the second generation) fare in the United States? (e) what “race,” gender, and social class issues do immigrants face in the United States; and (f) what is acculturation and segmented assimilation and how do they operate within immigrant communities in the United States today?
Required Course Text:
Dinnerstein, Leonard, Roger, Nichols and David Reimers (2009). Natives and Strangers
A Multicultural History of Americans. New York: Oxford University Press.
Each student will be responsible for completing two research assignments, participating in the threaded discussions, and keeping a video journal. Graduate students will have to complete an additional policy research paper. The format for class will be lectures, readings, presentations and threaded group discussions. Sociologically relevant videos will be used as a supplement to the major themes covered in the course.
After completing this course students will have achieved the following:
(a) Students will understand the historic flows of immigrants to the United States from the turn of the 20th century to the present.
(b) Students will have knowledge of the predominant theories of international immigration as they apply to the United States in different eras.
(c) Students will have an understanding of the major immigration policy shifts and how they affected the flow of migrants to the United States from a “race” gender and social class perspective.
(d) Students will have knowledge about why people leave their homelands to move to the United States and other countries.
(e) Students will understand what the transnational lifestyles are that the newer waves of immigrants to the United States tend to lead.
(g) Students will have a general knowledge about how the second generation does in terms of the schooling, employment, acculturation and segmented assimilation.
Summary of Final Grade Calculation for 438 Students
Assignments (2) * 20 40 percent
Youtube Video 20 percent
Blackboard threaded discussions 5 percent
Pop Quizzes 5 percent
Class Participation 15 percent
Video Reflection Journal 15 percent
Summary of Final Grade Calculation for 538 Students
Assignments (2) * 15 30 percent
Youtube Video 20 percent
Blackboard threaded discussions 5 percent
Pop Quizzes 5 percent
Immigration Policy Paper 20 percent
Class Participation 10 percent
Video Reflection Journal 10 percent
Throughout the next ten weeks of the course you are encouraged to attend special events out in your community which have a sociological content related to migration (guest speakers, colloquia, theatrical plays, special lectures, gallery openings, movies etc..). After attending the event you will need to write up a one page commentary. In the write up you need to indicate the time, place and the title of the event. You will need to provide a brief synopsis of what took place at the event. You will need to apply your “sociological imagination” to theorize/analyze the event and link it to the content of the course text books, videos or web sites visited. Finally, in the write up, you need to tell me what you learned from having attended this event and how it changed your consciousness vis-à-vis sociology. It is possible to get a maximum of 3 percent in extra credit for attending special events outside of class. Each event attended and written up will be worth one percent. All write ups for extra credit need to be submitted to the course director.
Examples of movies that would qualify for extra credit would include: Amreeka (2009); Human Trafficking (2007); The Namesake (2006); Pretty Dirty Things (2002); Bend it like Beckham (2002); A Day Without A Mexican (2004); Quinceañera (2006); Bhaji on the Beach (1993); Hotel Rwanda (2004); My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002); Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002); Do the Right Thing (1989); Gangs of New York (2002); Mambo Italiano (2003); Green Card (1990). Please check with the course director for other appropriate films which will qualify for extra credit.
All assignments must be submitted in TYPED form.
During the course there may be some unforeseen circumstances which arise that alter the schedule below. In this case it will be YOUR responsibility to be in class to find out what those adjustments might be.
If you are experiencing problems with this course, its content, the readings, my teaching style, I want to strongly encourage you to raise your concerns at the earliest possible moment. You can do this by visiting me during my office hours.
To fully understand student conduct expectations (definitions and consequences of plagiarism, cheating, etc.) see: http://oregonstate.edu/admin/stucon/achon.htm.
All participants in the course are expected to:
1) Be prepared to discuss assigned readings and engage in on line class activities and out of class activities.
2) Be willing to examine and share their own issues and experiences of difference, discrimination and power.
3) Be respectful of different perspectives.
4) Be able to approach United States immigration issues and debates from an objective but critical perspective.
Students with Disabilities:
Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Students with accommodations approved through SSD are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through SSD should contact SSD immediately at 737-4098.
The Writing Center
The Writing Center provides students with a FREE consulting service for their writing assignments. The Center is located at 123 Waldo Hall. The service operates from Monday to Thursday 9-7 pm, and Friday 9-4 pm. You can make an appointment to discuss your writing with a peer writing assistant (737-5640). Another option available through the Center is to use email to get online answers to brief writing questions (writingQ@mail.orst.edu). Or you can also submit an entire writing project online to the Online Writing Lab for help in organizing, developing, and revising. Responses take from 24-48 hours. http://cwl.oregonstate.edu/owl.php). You cannot use this service the night before, it takes time so get in touch with them early.
January 7/9 An introduction to immigration and immigrants
Theories of International Migration. Natives and Strangers. Chapter 1-3
January 14/16. Immigration policy: past and present.
January 23. Patterns of Immigrant Settlement and Mobility in the United States.
Read PDF article: Immigrant Job Quality and Mobility in the United States—Frank Bean. Natives and Strangers. Chapters 7-9
Read PDF article: Benefits and Burdens Work in New York City—Nancy Foner. Read
Read PDF article: Ethnic foundations of economic transitions: Mexican and Korean Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Chicago—Raijman & Tienda.
Read PDF article: The Transnational Dimension of Identity formation: Adult Children of Immigrants in Miami—Haller & Landolt.
Visit the web site: http://www.immivasion.us/cartoons/cartoons_slide_show.html
Participation in threaded discussions
The Instructor will post initial questions on the class threaded discussion board. Once posting begins, all students are required to contribute to an online discussion about the material. That means all students must have completed the readings and or watched the videos before offering a comment or contribution to the discussion. I will not allow anyone to send off a flurry of comments at the end of the course just to fulfill the grade requirement. Individual participation in this ongoing series of threaded discussions will be worth 10%.
Assignment Number 1- Using Peopling of America web site and other academic sources I would like you to write a social history of your own ethnic groups migration history to the United States. Peopling of America time line at the Ellis Island Web site shows the forces behind immigration and their impact on the immigrant experience in the United States 1790 to 2000. Once you have read through the entire set of hot links from pre- 1790, 1790, 1820, 1880, 1930, 1965 and 2000, I would then like you to write a 3-4 page paper which summarizes the history of immigration for your ancestors to the United States. You may need to interview family members to begin writing your families migration history. In this paper you must discuss the major transformations in immigration policy and relate this to your family history. How did policy changes, or ideological shifts on the part of the United States government affect your ethnic groups migration experience. How was “race” gender and class biases reflected in the United States immigration policy and how did these policies affect your ancestors. How did some of these policy changes reflect the growing need of the economy for ever new sources of cheap labor. http://www.ellisisland.org/immexp/wseix_4_3.asp?
Assignment Number 2.
Life history interviewing is the recording of first hand accounts about the past from people who can give eye-witness information about events which transpired in their lifetime. Life history interviews provide us with an opportunity to recognize and understand the significant but often ignored contributions of individuals to their families, work places, and communities.
Informant: Find an older person (at least 10 years older) who is comfortable discussing her or his experiences of immigrating to the United States with you. This may be someone in your family or religious organization, a neighbor, or someone with whom you work. Face-to-face contact is a better interview technique than over the telephone. You may choose to make several briefer contacts rather than one extended interview. Multiple contacts allow you to develop a better rapport with your key informant. You should assure your informant that you will keep their identity and interview data confidential.
Methods: It is a good idea to use a tape recorder in addition to taking notes during the interview. People are usually comfortable with recording if you explain that you want to be accurate and the tape recorder will make it easier for you to concentrate on the conversation. You can take some notes and revise them later while listening to the tape.
Essential Themes: A pool of sample questions follows. You do not have to ask all of these questions, but you should address the broad areas of their migration history and their transnational connections to their home country during your interview and summary paper.
Where were you born?
What was life like in the old country?
What were some of your childhood memories?
Can you describe the school
that you attended when growing up (primary/ high school/ college)
Can you describe the house you lived in before immigrating
What occupation did you have
in the old country?
What was your parents' occupations? How well off would you classify your family compared to everyone else in your neighborhood?
Tell me about moving to the United States—what was involved in that process?
Was there a specific reason
why you immigrated?
How and where did you get the money to travel?
When you first immigrated, did you do so alone or did you arrive with others?
Who received you when you
first arrived in the United States?
Where did you move to first in the United States? Why did you move there? Did you move around? How did you end up where you are today?
After you arrived in the
United States how was contact maintained with the old
country? Were there letters, telephone calls, emails
to family left behind--- what was the frequency? How responsible did you feel
for family left behind?
Were you the first person in your family to migrate? Tell me about the order of your families migration? Why did it happen in that order?
Were you responsible for sending back money or help to family remaining behind?
What occupations did you do when you first arrived as an immigrant. How did that change over time? Give me a history of the jobs you have done from the beginning to the present.
Did you upgrade your schooling qualifications since you arrived? Why did you have to do that?
Did anyone from your home country also live near you? Did you know them? What kinds of friends did you have in the first few years of arrival? What are your friendship networks like now?
Did you belong to any hometown organizations, churches, or other groups that were connected to the place you migrated from? Probe—sports teams?
How assimilated did you become as you lived in the United States? Do you feel like you are an American? Why?
Do you still feel that your place of birth is still your “home” or has United States become your home?
Do you make any return visits to your “home” country since you immigrated? How many and why so often/ or infrequently?
Since arriving in the United States have you felt any sense of being discriminated against? Do you feel that you are treated like a foreigner?
Do you have any children? If yes what do you tell them about your ancestry? How important is it for your children to learn about your ancestors? What have you done to keep your family traditions alive? Do your children know your ancestors home language? Have they made any return visits to meet family and kin left behind?
Have you helped any family or kin to immigrate to the United States since you have arrived?
Once you have completed the interview you need to listen to the whole tape and read over your notes in order to complete a 3-4 page write up of the immigrant experience. Do some back ground reading on the interviewees ethnic background and the immigration history of his/her ancestors to the United States. Select some interesting facts from the individuals life history interview to write a short narrative of the events as they were told to you. Apply as many concepts and themes discussed in the class readings and in lecture to theorize the interviewees experience in immigrating to the United States. Pay particular attention to the issues of “race” gender and social class that this person may have come from. Also try to determine how closely the interviewees immigration experience has been compared to his/her ancestors who might have arrived in earlier waves to the United States. For example you can use theoretical concepts like assimilation, acculturation, transnational life style, racism, living in ethnic enclaves etc. as areas to discuss the interviewees experiences. In your write up of the interview make sure to link the sentiments and experiences of the interviewee with the core concepts, theories and issues we have come across in the readings. Be analytic not just descriptive in your final write up.
YouTube Class Product (20 percent)
Working in pairs this project will involve the making of a YouTube video on a theme of immigration to the United States or globally. Working with a partner, decide on a central Sociological story you would like to display using YouTube media. Some ideas to consider are gender, race, social class, sexuality and immigration. I expect that each YouTube clip will be between 3-5 minutes in length and have images, audio, and written text. Your goal is to demonstrate what you learned about immigration policy and how this affected peoples lives in the United States. Some examples include: looking at the representation of Mexican-origin people as “illegal” in the United States. Looking at the representation of immigrants during the 2012 United States election cycle. Looking at human trafficking in Portland Oregon. Looking at same sex marriage and immigration policy. Looking at skilled immigrants and migration policy. Looking at racism and migration. Looking at a specific history of immigrant groups to the United States. How can the images, music and text you put together find tell a story about migration to the United States. Some technical help will be provided on how to make a Youtube video. Most of the creativity and hard work however will come from your team.
See the following web site for examples of YouTube projects from last year: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/soc204/plazad/Modernracism/modernracism.html
Video Reflection Journal
One of your central learning activities during this course will be keeping a personal video reflection journal. You should think of this writing as talking out loud or thinking out loud about the videos which are shown in class. You should realize that some of your most interesting (to you, I mean) and productive journal entries may well begin with questions or notions that you haven't really thought about much. They might also be observations of the way immigration issues are presented to you in the popular media and how this has influenced your consciousness about difference (us verses them). The video journal can and should be your place to continue our class discussions and your conversations. It can and should be your place to record and link your reactions to the readings as they relate to the videos screened. The point is that you're using the video journal to become fully involved in all the issues the course raises. Finally, use your journal to draw connections between this course and the other life experiences you have had. The journal when its finally submitted to the instructor should be typed out. The journal is due in the final week of class.
Grading of Video Reflection Journal
The reflection journal counts for 20 percent of your grade. It will be evaluated according to three criteria: commitment, ambition and engagement with the videos screened. You will need to demonstrate how did each video highlight the issues, themes, concepts described in the readings, lectures or class discussions. Note, I expect that you will have at least 5 pages of commentary in your video journal by the time you submit it for grading.
Videos For the Video Journal
They came to America
Go West Young Man
Home is Struggle
America the New Immigrants
ADL - Distorted Image
Nightline - City of Dreamers
Made in L.A.
Letters from the other side
Golden Venture - Chinese Immigrants
Dying to leave - Business of Human Trafficking
The New Americans Finding Community
Reading Presentation Throughout this course emphasis is being placed on thinking critically about issues of “race”, “gender”, class, ethnicity and policy in the context of American immigration. It is in this spirit that you are asked to critically explore and present the competing arguments found in a PDF article on blackboard. What you are asked to do is to lead a class discussion on the theme or topic for the reading. I would also like you to draw on class materials to discuss/examine the migration issue you are assigned to present to the class. Devise an interesting way to present the materials you find to your peers (e.g. power point presentations and short video clips work well). You also need to find recent or past information concerning the immigration issue being studied as it relates to Oregon. From the presentation (maximum 10 minutes), generate three questions to pose to the class in order to facilitate discussion. In the end, you need to provide each class member with a 1-2 page summary highlighting the main issues discussed in the presentation. Students not presenting are also required to read the articles from each week and be prepared for a pop quiz on the articles content.
Immigration Policy Paper for Graduate Students
Immigration policy in the United States has, from the start, been shaped by contending forces advocating that the nation should serve as a refuge for the world’s disposed and those who believe that immigration policy should seek to sift the wheat from the chaff—to admit the immigrants who add to the U.S economy and society and exclude those who may become a burden. The fundamental tension is evident throughout the evolution of immigration policy in the United States. In light of the shifts in United States immigration policy since the 19th Century, you are asked to select one major immigration policy shift and write a research paper which provides a critical socio-historic review of the policy. You need to choose one ethnic group and examine how the shift in immigration policy affected them (examples Mexicans, Iranians, Caribbeans, South Asians, Chinese, Japanese, Central Americans, British, Italians, Germans, Irish, Greeks, Polish ect.) You need to consult appropriate scholarly references (journal articles, published reports etc) as the backbone of the analysis. You might also examine census data, newspapers, magazines or first hand historical accounts (autobiography) to determine how immigration policy shifts affected who got in and who was blocked out from moving to the United States. The final paper should be 5-8 typed pages, double spaced, and should include a bibliography with all the references you cite in the paper. The term paper is due on the last day of class. The following are major Immigration Act changes which I encourage you to use as the focal point for writing the policy paper.
Historic Immigration Policy Changes
The Chinese Exclusion Act 1882
The Immigration Act of 1891
The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1924
The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952
The Immigration and Naturalization Act Amendments of 1965
The Immigration and Naturalization Act Amendments of 1976
The Refugee Act of 1980
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986
The Immigration Act of 1990
General Migration Issues
Alba, Richard, and Victor Nee. 2003. Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation and Contemporary Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U Press.
King, Desmond. 2005. The Liberty of Strangers: Making the American Nation. New York, Oxford University Press.
Massey, Douglas S., Jorge Durand, and Nolan Malone. 2002. Beyond Smoke and Mirrors: Mexican Migration in an Era of Economic Integration. New York: Russell Sage.
Plaza, Dwaine. 2009. “A Content Analysis of Web Pages Constructed by Second-Generation Caribbeans in Andoni Alonso & Pedro Oiazabal (ed) Reading Digital Diasporas: Spaces of Identity, Politics and Technology, Nevada: University of Nevada Press, pp. 130-159.
Plaza, Dwaine & Frances Henry. 2009. “Transnational Return Migration to the English-Speaking Caribbean” in Elizabeth-Thomas-Hope (ed) Freedom and Constraint in Caribbean Migration and Diaspora, Kingston: Ian Randle Publishers, pp. 157-180.
Plaza, Dwaine. 2008. “Transnational Return Migration to the English Speaking Caribbean.” Revue Europeenne des Migrations Internationales. Vol, 24No 1. pp. 115-137.
Plaza, Dwaine. 2007. “An Examination of Transnational Remittance Practices of Jamaican Canadian Families.” Global Development Studies, Vol. 4, No. 3-4, pp. 217-250.
Plaza, Dwaine & Frances Henry. 2006. Returning to the Source: The Final Stage of the Caribbean Migration Circuit. Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press.
Portes, Alejandro and Rubén G. Rumbaut. 2001. Legacies. The Story of the Immigrant Second Generation. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, New York: University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation.
Reimers, David. 2005. Other Immigrants: The Global Origins of the American People. New York: New York University Press.
Rumbaut, Rubén G. and Alejandro Portes (Editors) 2001. Ethnicities. Children of Immigrants in America. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, New York: University of California Press and Russell Sage Foundation.
Suárez-Orozco, Carola and Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco. 2002. Children of Immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Waters, Mary C. 1999. Black Identities: West Indian Immigrant Dreams and American Realities. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Migration and Family Issues
Booth, A., A. Crouter, & N. Landale. 1997. Immigration and the Family: Research and Policy on U.S. Immigrants. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Contreras, J. M.; K. Kerns, & A. Neal-Barnett. 2002. Latino Children and Families in the United States. Westport, NT: Praeger.
Fix, M. & J. Passel. 1994. Immigration and Immigrants: Setting the Record Straight. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
Gonzales-Berry, Erlinda, Marcella Mendoza and Dwaine Plaza. 2007. Segmented Assimilation of First-and-a-half Generation Mexican Youth in Oregon. Latino Research Review vol. 6, ns. 1-2:94-118.
Hernandez, D. & E. Charney (eds). 1998. From Generation to Generation: The Health and Well-Being of Children in Immigrant Families. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Hofferth, Sandra. 1998. Public assistance receipt of Mexican- and Cuban-American children in native and immigrant families. In Children of Immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance. D.J. Hernandez, (ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Hofferth, Sandra. 2003. “Race/Ethnic differences in Father Involvement in Two Parent Families: Culture, Context, or Economy?” Journal of Family Issues.
Kao, Grace and Marta Tienda. 1995. “Optimism and achievement: The educational performance of immigrant youth.” Social Science Quarterly 76(1):1-19.
Mindel, C.H., R.W. Habenstein, & R.Wright, Jr. 1998. Ethnic Families in America. Fourth edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Plaza, Dwaine. 2006. “The Construction of a Segmented Hybrid Identity Among One and a Half and Second Generation Indo- and African- Caribbean Canadians.” Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research. Vol. 6 (3) 207-230.
Taylor, R. J., J. Jackson, & L.M. Chatters. 1997. Family Life in Black America. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Thornton, Arland. 2001. “The Developmental Paradigm, Reading History Sideways and Family Change.” Demography 38(4):449-465.
Transnational Migration Issues
Basch, L., Glick- Schiller, N., & Szanton-Blanc, C. 1994. Nations unbounded: Transnational projects and the deterritorialized nation states. Langhorne, Pa: Gordon and Breach.
Fouron, George., & Glick-Schiller, N. 2001. All in the family: Gender, transnational migration, and the nation-state. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 7(4), 539-582.
Goldring, Luin. 1996. Blurring the borders: constructing transnational community in the process of Mexico-U.S. Migration. Research in Community Sociology, 6, 69-104.
Goldring, Luin. 2001. The gender and geography of citizenship in Mexico-U.S. transnational spaces. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, 7( 4), 501-537.
Ho, Christine. 1999. Caribbean transnationalism as a gendered process. Latin American Perspectives, 26(5), 34-54.
Marshall, Dawn. 1982. Toward an Understanding of Caribbean Migration. In M. Kritz, (Ed.) U.S. immigration and refugee policy: Global and domestic issues. Lexington Mass: Lexington Books.
Plaza, Dwaine. 2000. Transnational grannies: The changing family responsibilities of elderly African Caribbean-born women resident in Britain. Social Indicators Research, 1(1), 75-105.
Portes, A. 1996. Transnational communities: their emergence and significance in the contemporary world-system.” In R. Korzeniewicz & W. Smith (Eds.), Latin America in the world economy. West Port Connecticut: Greenwood Press.
Simmons, Alan. & Dwaine, Plaza. 2006 “The Caribbean Community in Canada: Transnational Connections and Transformation” in Wong, Lloyd & Vic Satzewich, Negotiating Borders and Belonging: Transnational Identities and Practices in Canada. University of British Columbia Press. Pp. 130-149.
Vertovec, Steve. 2001.Transnationalism and identity. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 27(4), 573-582.
Course Grading Matrix --Total Points
94-100 = A
90-93 = A-
88-89 = B+
84-87 = B
80-83 = B-
78-79 = C+
74-77 = C
70-73 = C-
68-69 = D+
64-67 = D
60-63 = D-
59 = F