American Lives: Immigration History, Law and Community Media
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Immigration is a key issue of our times. President Trump’s immigration policies—the travel ban on immigrants from majority Muslim countries, family detentions and separations, and the proposal to build an impassable wall at the Mexico/US border—have sparked passionate debates. These debates echo recurring themes in U.S. history, as the nation has struggled to define who can enter, who qualifies for citizenship, and whose languages, culture and identity are valued.
Historically, the U.S. has often depended on the labor of immigrant “guest” workers to build its railroads and work in its fields, while discouraging their attempts to become “American.” Today, an estimated 12 million undocumented adults and children are working, attending school, and raising their families in the U.S. Their presence, and the support of a growing movement of allies, constitutes one of the largest civil disobedience movements in U.S. history.
This program will examine immigration laws and policies past and present. We will learn to listen to voices on both sides of the immigration debate: what are the forces that drive people from their homes to seek a better life? How and why have anti-immigration policies gained popular support? How can we separate reality from myths about immigrants and refugees? What are the implications of current policy changes for U.S. identity, community and democracy?
Students will choose one of two workshops: Media Production (audio recording and photography) and Law and Policy Research. Program readings will include historical texts, judicial decisions, art and literature. We will track current media coverage of immigration policy and learn how those policies are impacting communities and how they are responding. We will view films, engage in discussion, and take field trips to Seattle and Tacoma to learn about immigrant experiences and projects to memorialize their lives and struggles. Students will commit 2-3 hours/week to community service with organizations serving immigrant members of the community; please check with faculty before finalizing your enrollment to ensure your schedule fits this commitment. Students will write short weekly essays on the readings, keep a reflective journal of their volunteer experiences, do independent research, and collaborate on community-based projects.
This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:
History, law, media, nonprofit/community work, government and public policy.
Credits per quarter
- Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.
$30 for supplies and entrance fee
Class Size: 50
Scheduled for: Day
Final schedule and room assignments:
First meeting:Tuesday, January 8, 2019 - 9:00 am
Located in: Olympia