Migration & Culture                                                    Koptiuch/ASU West

This course examines migration and culture embedded in a transnational field of social, economic, and political processes. Based on current approaches in social sciences, (im)migration is viewed as the effect of a patterned process of globalization of capital and culture. This entails building objective and subjective "bridges" that link migrantsí homelands to their "host" societies. We thus investigate how options to migrate are socially produced, and examine the recent emergence of new kinds of migrants whose lives cut across national boundaries. Long-standing structural forces and international connections underlie contemporary migrations: colonialism, war and military occupation/intervention, globalization of labor recruitment and economic interactions, global flows of information, media, and culture. The historical focus of the course is on migration since the late 20th century, an era of new migration pressures ushered in by the end of the Cold War and current global restructuring. Historical precedents provide comparative scope, and aid in identifying key conditions that make possible shifts in relations between migration and culture today.
In addition, the course will consider major cities as strategic sites in the postcolonial world economy where a multiplicity of migrants, cultures, and identities that have been deterritorialized from local settings all over the world are reterritorialized in urban centers. Caught between the nation and the globe, migrants negotiate this contradictory experience. They actively manipulate their diasporic identities to accommodate their shifting positioning; but migrants also resist their devaluation as Other within nations of settlement, and their subordination within a transnational capitalist system that increasingly depends on their labor. The course also examines immigration debates to consider how cultural hybridity of diasporic communities has challenged native citizens worldwide to re-imagine their own national communities in this transnational era.

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