In this seminar, students investigate the role of immigration and migration in shaping the New York City’s identity, past, present, and future. Seminar topics include: the factors that have driven and drawn people to New York since the seventeenth century; the different ways that religion, race, gender, and ethnicity have shaped immigrant encounters with and within the city; the formation and social organization of immigrant communities in such neighborhoods as the Lower East Side, Harlem, Little Italy, Chinatown, Astoria, Flushing, and Stapleton; the impact of successive waves of newcomers on urban culture and politics; and the continuing debates over assimilation and Americanization. Extensive reading and writing assignments are enriched by visits to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, Ellis Island, and other important sites. The culminating project of this seminar is the collaborative construction of neighborhood websites, exhibited at a final common event.
July 22, 2010