Thresholds of Identity offers the study of novels and films of Spanish migration, domestic and international, through contextualized engagement with selected contemporary texts. Our primary literature and films correspond to each of three recent Spanish migratory trends: 1) mass movement from rural to urban areas in the early twentieth century 2) emigration from Spain during and after the Civil War and 3) immigration to Spain during and after the nation’s transition to democracy. Throughout, we support a nuanced understanding of these experiences through the lens of individual and collective identity studies. Students in this course have the opportunity to select and share works connected to their own interdisciplinary investigations.
This course focuses on student-generated discussion and critical thinking about texts and concepts, and students learn to defend their ideas in spoken and written language. Intermediate-high level. Conducted in Spanish.
How are refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants different? What are the reasons people migrate? What creates the conditions for illegality? Why are people being deported? What does integration mean and who is integrated? In this course, we will follow a migrant-centered approach in investigating macro (e.g., institutional), meso (e.g., intergroup) and micro level (e.g., individual) influences on migration, displacement, and belonging. We are going to explore the scientific, conceptual, and policy-oriented foundations of a migrant-centered study of immigration in the United States and the Globe. This course (1) bridges scholarship in psychology with contemporary immigration debates, (2) encourages students to think about the relationship between immigration policy and psychological research on race, ethnicity, and identity, (3) helps students engage in interdisciplinary and critical thinking in issues related to immigration. The course would be in a seminar format with small group discussions, close-readings, and group activities as the dominant forms of interaction in the class. In order to familiarize you with key questions, theoretical debates, and issues within the field, our readings will range across a body of interdisciplinary and critical scholarship, and will include elements from digital media and pop culture.
“It was an age of miracles, it was an age of art, it was an age of excess, and it was an age of satire,” F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in his epitaph to the Jazz Age, that heady period in American culture that began with the end of the First World War and lasted, roughly, through the stock market of 1929 and into the 1930s—following the peak years of the Great Migration. It was something else too: a social and literary revolution, fueled by the explosion of Jazz, new media and communications technology, popular entertainment, the phenomenon of ‘race mixing,’ and a creative renaissance in a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan called Harlem. Modernism, the Bohemians of Greenwich Village and Montparnasse, the lawlessness of the Prohibition era, are all a part of the cultural backdrop. While the white writers of the Jazz Age (Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, etc.) have generally been read in isolation from their counterparts in Harlem (Countee Cullen, Jean Toomer, Nella Larsen. Claude McKay), this course will treat them as co-equals and explore their affinities across the color line.
“Wicked problems” demand answers and resist remedies. They loom large, yet cannot be located or pinned down. “Diabolical dilemmas” force us to make repugnant choices in favor of lesser evils. Examples of both include global warming, pandemics, terrorism, migration, healthcare, corruption, poverty, and human trafficking. After orienting ourselves in the relevant topology and terminology, we will explore how communities past and present, near and far, successfully tame wicked problems and navigate diabolical dilemmas, through creative ideas, innovative programs, participatory experimentation, and collaborative public action. Weekly readings, discussion posts, collaborative activities, presentations, and projects.