HIST 403 – Migration in the Americas (Seminar in the History of International Relations)
Professor: Dr. Benjamin Bryce
Term: Fall 2020
Time: Mondays, 12:00-13:45 or 14:00-15:45
Course Description: This course explores several themes in the history of migration in the Americas. It focuses on the people who migrate and on the responses of government officials, workers, politicians, and other migrant groups to new arrivals. Topics include diplomacy, government policies, gender, the construction of racial categories, and nationalism. The readings aim to introduce students to a variety of methodological approaches used in social history as well as to offer examples of transnational and global history. The assignments seek to strengthen students’ research skills using primary and secondary sources. Together, the readings, assignments, and class discussions highlight the centrality of migration and cultural pluralism in the Americas.
Learning Objectives (LO):
By the end of the course, students will be able to:
- LO. 1) Describe how human migration has shaped societies around the globe.
- LO. 2) Identify and assess the ways that historians mobilize evidence and construct and revise narratives.
- LO. 3) Critically evaluate and engage in substantive historical debates.
- LO. 4) Demonstrate a capacity for historical writing.
- LO. 5) Assesses global and transnational history and research methods.
Course Structure: Class time in this seminar course will be dedicated to group discussions of the readings and discussions of research projects. Written assignments will build on the topics examined in class, but they will require additional research. As a fourth-year seminar, there will be no lectures. Students are expected to participate in all seven synchronous Zoom sessions (which take place on a bi-weekly basis). I will sometimes lead discussions, but it will be students’ contributions to seminars that help others learn.
All readings are mandatory. Four out of five can be accessed as eBooks through the UBC library by clicking this link: https://courses.library.ubc.ca/c.KfNPv6. The books are on sale at the UBC Bookstore for approximately $35 each, and most can also be bought as a paperback through other vendors.
David Atkinson, The Burden of White Supremacy Containing Asian Migration in the British Empire and the United States (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).
Eiichiro Azuma, In Search of Our Frontier: Japanese America and Settler Colonialism in the Construction of Japan’s Borderless Empire (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2019).
Lara Putnam, Radical Moves Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2013).
Tara Zahra, The Great Departure Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (New York: W.W. Norton, 2017).
Elizabeth Zanoni, Migrant Marketplaces: Food and Italians in North and South America (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2018).
- Participation in 7 synchronous sessions, 25%
- Description of online archival sources, October 9, 20%
- Migrant foodways essay, October 30, 20%
- Research Project, December 11, 35%
1. Participation. Students are expected to attend and participate in all seven synchronous sessions. Discussion is an important part of fourth-year seminars, and students will learn from one another through their active participation. Students are expected to attend all synchronous sessions of this course and to actively participate in the discussion of the five assigned monographs. Students will be required to read approximately 100 pages per week, but we will discuss 250 pages at a time. Students should demonstrate a mastery of the readings and share some critical thoughts about the arguments presented. Contributions to the discussion should be based on the readings and be respectful to classmates. To prepare for seminars, students should read the assigned materials thoroughly and come prepared to state their own views about the work and engage with those of other students. If actively participating in class discussions is difficult for you, please come and talk to me. Participation will be assessed as follows: Quality of insight into the readings – 50%; active engagement in the discussion – 50%
1.b. Asynchronous track. This course offers an asynchronous track. Instead of participating in the seminar discussions of the five books, students can submit a written review of each of the five books. This option is intended for students with difficulties with Zoom (because of time zones or country-specific restrictions) and for those with other personal commitments (such as childcare, caring for others during the pandemic, or employment obligations). Students should notify the instructor by September 25 if they plan to choose this option. If possible, students should come to Synchronous Sessions 1 and 6 to discuss the course and the final research project. Students should also come to the Skype office hours to discuss the assignments. Students can switch to this track in October or November, but only after providing a brief justification to the instructor or the UBC Wellness Centre. The book reviews will each be worth 5% of the overall grade. For this assignment, students will be asked to write an 800-word review of the assigned book, following examples of other book reviews. In a scholarly book review, the author should talk about the book’s argument, main themes, historiographic contributions, and methodology. It is also common that the reviewer will highlight one weak point. The review is due the day the assigned reading is to be discussed in the seminar. The reviews will be graded based on the following criteria: analysis 50%; structure 20%; accuracy 20%; style and grammar 10%.
2. Description of online archival sources. 600 words. Students are asked to locate and describe the contents of one online archive or archival fonds that could be used to carry out in-depth research on one of the course themes. These sources should/could be used in Assignment 4 (Research Project). Students are encouraged to share a draft with a classmate at least 3 days before the deadline. The assignment will be graded based on the following criteria: appropriateness of archival source 25%; clarity of description 25%; proposed use of sources 20%; structure 15%; style and grammar 15%.
3. Migrant foodways. 4-5 pages. Students are asked to analyze some aspect of migrant foodways in the place they currently live. They should engage with Elizabeth Zanoni’s Migrant Marketplaces and make use of one other scholarly source for theoretical, methodological, and contextual framing. The market, restaurant, shop, etc. should be considered a sort of primary document, and students can include photos, quotations from interviews with vendors/employees, or published documents related to this foodway. Students should follow all public health regulations where they live and be safe. If the current state of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic makes completing this assignment unsafe, students should discuss alternatives with the instructor. Students are encouraged to share a draft with a classmate at least 3 days before the deadline. The assignment will be graded based on the following criteria: research 35%; analysis 35%; mechanics 30%.
4. Research project. The assignment will be graded based on the following criteria: research 35%; analysis 35%; mechanics 30%.
4.a. Historical Research Essay. 12-15 pages. Students are asked to write a historical research essay drawing from both primary and secondary sources. Students must identify and analyze an important topic in the history of migration anywhere in the Americas. Outside research is required, and at least five books or articles not assigned in this course must be examined as well as a reasonable number of primary documents. This assignment is intended to build on the archival description (Assignment 2) that students completed in October. Many published primary documents related to migration can be found on www.archive.org, the HathiTrust Digital Library, the Chung Collection at UBC, or in archives near home (such as the UBC Rare Books and Special Collections or City of Vancouver Archives). The topic is open but it must relate to one of the main themes of the course. Students should discuss their topic with Dr. Bryce by November 1. Students are encouraged to share a draft with a classmate at least 3 days before the deadline.
4.b. Historiographic Research Essay. 12-15 pages. Students are asked to write a historiographic research essay. Students must identify and analyze an important topic in migration history. Outside research is required, and at least ten books or articles not assigned in this course must be examined. Students can analyze research assigned in class in addition to ten other publications. The topic is open but it must relate to one of the main themes of the course. Students should discuss their topic with Dr. Bryce by November 1.
September 14 – Synchronous Session 1
- Syllabus and assignment descriptions
September 21 – Synchronous Session 2
- Elizabeth Zanoni, Migrant Marketplaces: Food and Italians in North and South America (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2018).
Last day to withdraw from course without financial penalty and without W standing on transcript. September 21.
October 5 – Synchronous Session 3
- David Atkinson, The Burden of White Supremacy: Containing Asian Migration in the British Empire and the United States (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).
October 19 – Synchronous Session 4
- Tara Zahra, The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World (New York: W.W. Norton, 2017).
Last day to withdraw from course with W standing on transcript. October 30
November 2 – Synchronous Session 5
- Lara Putnam, Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2013).
November 16 – Synchronous Session 6
- Research project workshop
- No readings. Students should have made some progress on their research project.
November 30 – Synchronous Session 7
- Eiichiro Azuma, In Search of Our Frontier: Japanese America and Settler Colonialism in the Construction of Japan’s Borderless Empire (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2019).
Canvas: This course uses Canvas. Detailed descriptions of the assignments are posted on Canvas. Assignments will be submitted via Canvas and grades and comments returned through the same system. Students should check this site regularly.
Turn It In: Students are required to submit their essays through TurnItIn (Assignments 2 and 4). See the course ID and enrolment key on page 1 of the syllabus. TurnItIn is a tool to maintain authenticity and ownership and to prevent plagiarism. I use it to encourage students to properly cite and attribute ideas to their authors. It should not only be seen as a deterrent but also as an educational tool. Essays submitted to TurnItIn go into an anonymized database that compares submitted assignments with others and with secondary sources on the internet. Students should remove their name from the file and blind the document. Please note that once you submit your papers to Turnitin.com your work is stored on an American server and is subject to US privacy laws. You can create an alias for yourself and notify me of the alias you use. If you do not want to submit your assignments through TurnItIn, you can instead submit scanned or digital copies of all your research notes along with your assignments through Canvas. If you choose this option, please notify me ahead of time.
Office hours: Office hours will be held via Skype or telephone. You can simply call me or message me in the same way that you would knock on my door. If I don’t answer during the scheduled office hours (Mondays, 11:00-12:00), I am talking with another student. You can, however, try me any time between Monday and Friday from 10 am to 4:15 pm. I will try to have my Skype open most of the time, and the telephone number on page 1 is my office landline. If I don’t answer, send me a message and I will write you back soon.
Evaluation of written work: Assignments will be returned accompanied by comments noting areas that need attention. Assignments will only be returned to the writer. Questions about grades cannot be answered effectively by e-mail and students should instead come to the instructor’s office hours (via Skype or telephone). If you ask for an assignment to be reconsidered, note that your grade could go either up or down.
E-mail policy: Please use e-mail to communicate with me only for administrative matters. Please come to the scheduled office hours to address questions that you have, raise them in class, or participate in the Canvas discussion. If you cannot meet during my scheduled office hours (on Skype), please e-mail me to set up an alternative appointment. I will respond to e-mails within 48 hours, so please do not leave your inquiries to the last minute. Please take the time to compose a formal e-mail. Assignments will not be accepted by email. Please use your UBC e-mail address to communicate with me, and please check this e-mail account regularly to receive updates about this course.
Canvas discussion board: If your question is somewhat general, please post it to the Canvas discussion board rather than sending me an e-mail. I will answer it there, and this help other students learn as well. Please take a look at past discussions to make sure there is not overlap.
Censorship: During this pandemic, the shift to online learning has greatly altered teaching and studying at UBC, including changes to health and safety considerations. Keep in mind that some UBC courses might cover topics that are censored or considered illegal by non-Canadian governments. This may include, but is not limited to, human rights, representative government, defamation, obscenity, gender or sexuality, and historical or current geopolitical controversies. If you are a student living abroad, you will be subject to the laws of your local jurisdiction, and your local authorities might limit your access to course material or take punitive action against you. UBC is strongly committed to academic freedom, but has no control over foreign authorities (please visit http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=3,33,86,0 for an articulation of the values of the University conveyed in the Senate Statement on Academic Freedom). Thus, we recognize that students will have legitimate reason to exercise caution in studying certain subjects. If you have concerns regarding your personal situation, consider postponing taking a course with manifest risks, until you are back on campus or reach out to your academic advisor to find substitute courses. For further information and support, please visit: http://academic.ubc.ca/support-resources/freedom-expression
Writing Centres: Take advantage of the free services offered at the Centre for Writing and Scholarly Communication (https://learningcommons.ubc.ca/improve-your-writing/). This year they are offering remote and asynchronous services.
Technology etiquette during class time: Please turn off your cellphones before class begins. It is inappropriate to surf the web or send text messages during any class at the University of British Columbia. I advise that you print a copy of the notes that you take on the assigned readings or view them on a second screen so that you can concentrate on the Zoom discussion on your main screen.
Submission of written work and lateness penalty: Assignments are due at the end of the day (Vancouver time) on the date specified in this syllabus. The late submission of an assignment will be penalized in an exponential manner. For each day an assignment is late, the penalty will be as follows: 1%, 2%, 4%, 8%, 16%, 32%, 64%, 100%. This late penalty applies to weekends and holidays as well. No assignments will be accepted after eight days without a valid medical certificate. If you do hand in an assignment late, please send me an e-mail in addition to submitting the assignment through TurnItIn. If you have extenuating circumstances that will prevent you from submitting your assignment on time, discuss your situation with me before the due date.
Illness and absences: Notify me as soon as possible if a serious illness or other concern is affecting your ability to keep up with the course. It is also wise to contact the UBC Wellness Centre or the Registrar’s Office if you are experiencing academic or personal difficulties.
Managing your mental health: Amidst the current outbreak of COVID-19, you may be developing feelings of fear, stress, worry, and isolation – these feelings are natural when facing threats that are beyond our control. Everyone reacts differently to these feelings and they can be overwhelming for some. If you need help in coping with these feelings, here are some articles and resources compiled by UBC that will guide you in managing your mental health.
Academic Honesty and Plagiarism: Authors do not cite sources properly merely to avoid accusations of plagiarism but also to establish credibility, bring other work to the reader’s attention, and demonstrate competing viewpoints. For more on the use of citations, see the History Department’s guidelines: http://www.history.ubc.ca/content/common-questions-about-citations.
The University of British Columbia takes academic honesty very seriously. Any suspected cases of plagiarism will be investigated and academic offences could lead to permanent expulsion from UBC. More information on the University’s procedures on academic offences can be found here: http://www.calendar.ubc.ca/vancouver/index.cfm?tree=3,54,111,959
The code of academic conduct disallows the following:
- Plagiarism, which the university defines as an individual submitting or presenting the oral or written work of another person as his or her own.
- Submitting the same, or substantially the same, essay, presentation, or assignment more than once (whether the earlier submission was at this or another institution) unless prior approval has been obtained from the instructor(s) to whom the assignment is to be submitted.
Accessibility and Accommodations: Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. If you have an accessibility or health consideration that may require course format accommodation, please feel free to approach me to discuss your needs. If you require accommodations for a disability or for religious observance or if you have accessibility concerns about the course, the classroom, or course materials, please contact me or the Centre for Accessibility (https://students.ubc.ca/about-student-services/centre-for-accessibility).
Academic Concessions: If you experience unanticipated events or circumstances that interfere with your ability to accomplish your academic coursework, you may be eligible for academic concession. For more on this, please consult the Faculty of Arts’ policy (https://www.arts.ubc.ca/degree-planning/academic-performance/academic-concession/).
Student Conduct: The University of British Columbia is a community of students, faculty and staff involved in learning, teaching, research and other activities. In accordance with the UBC Respectful Environment Statement, all members of this community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that contributes positively to an environment in which respect, civility, diversity, opportunity and inclusiveness are valued, so as to assure the success of both the individual and the community. The Student Code of Conduct reflects a concern for these values and tries to ensure that members of the University and the public can make use of and enjoy the activities, facilities and benefits of the University without undue interference from others. The university’s policy and procedures involving disruptive and/or harassing behaviour by students in academic situations is available on this website: