Migration has never been so disruptive a phenomenon and omnipresent a political topic as it is today, both globally and in the United States. We are living in a period that is witness to catastrophic refugee crises, with large populations of displaced peoples fleeing war, economic crisis, and political or social persecution across the globe. At the same time, migration is a topic that directly relates to modern concepts of identity. Who are we? What defines us? How does one’s identity change and evolve? Those who migrate to new host countries are directly confronted with these challenging questions. Individual and national identities are formed and evolve based on how these questions are addressed.
This course is an introductory seminar that links the individual human experience of migration to current political, urban, and cultural systems. Why do people migrate? How do they migrate? Can they migrate? How are they perceived in the host country? How do migrants view and define themselves? How are concepts of identity affected by the process of migration? What are some of the common bias that migrants face?
Participants examine migration as a dynamic part of culture and society while discovering how it reflects and shapes our lives. We employ a multidisciplinary approach to look into the concepts of identity and its transformation. We learn about how globalization affects the urban fabric and how gentrification tends to be more prevalent in neighborhoods with higher numbers of immigrants. Students explore different cultural and artistic productions to understand how the migration process is reflected through cultural narratives and how it shapes identity across different contexts. We also analyze how the migrant experience is portrayed in popular culture and media. We then utilize this conceptual basis to challenge assumptions and myths we hold about the Other and perceptions we have about the Self. Regarding the Other, we look at how current trends are catalyzing shifts in national and international migration policies.
The course includes asynchronous work, which students are expected to complete between class sessions.
MIGR0101 | Call Number: 22331 | View this listing on the Directory of Courses.
Laura Vazquez Blazquez holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Spanish (Hispanic Literature and Cultural Studies) from the University of Arizona. For almost ten years, she has taught a variety of in-person and online college-level courses including Spanish Language; Spanish and Latin American Literature, Culture, and Cinema; Latin American Arts and Politics; Translation and Interpretation: Social Justice and Practice, among other courses. Her current research explores the relationships between global urban processes, food, culture, and transnational identities.