Empire and Migration

Instructors:  John Boonstra and Rebecca Hogue
Meeting time: Thursday, 12:00-2:45


Empire and MigrationFrom Mexico to the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia to the South Pacific, migration has been labeled a “crisis” for the countries to which migrants arrive. It is no coincidence, this course posits, that migratory trajectories toward these nations tend to reflect, reproduce, or reverse those of their imperial pasts—and indeed presents. How did these historically imbalanced relationships—for France and Algeria, for the American Southwest and overseas territories, for the British legacy in India and Pakistan, or for Greek and Turkish populations of the Aegean Sea—affect the routes, as well as the reasons, along and for which peoples have moved across oceans, deserts, mountains, or seas? What colonial power dynamics informed the “push” as well as the “pull” of those who departed, and of those who arrived? How is the history of empire intertwined with the history of migration? We propose to disentangle these histories through close analysis of a range of sources, texts, media, and methods, drawing on literary as well as historical approaches to understand how migrants and societies alike were shaped—and reshaped—by the making and unmaking of global empires.