Berkeley courses

This page provides lists courses related to refugees taught on the Berkeley campus.

Spring 2017

Contemporary Immigration in Global Perspective - "The goal of this course is to introduce students to important academic and political debates around immigration, to discuss processes of immigration, integration and exclusion in different national and cultural contexts, and to look at how the question of immigration plays out in different social and political areas." Sociology 146-001.

Ethics and Justice in International Affairs - "Should nations intervene in other countries to prevent human rights abuses or famine? On what principles should immigration be based? Should wealthy states aid poorer states, and if so, how much? Who should pay for global environmental damage? Answers to these moral questions depend to a great degree on who we believe we have an obligation to: Ourselves? Nationals of our country? Residents of our country? Everyone in the world equally? We will examine different traditions of moral thought including skeptics, communitarians, cosmopolitans, and use these traditions as tools to make reasoned judgments about difficult moral problems in world politics." Political Science 124C-001.

Ethnic and Religious Conflict - "Violent ethnic and religious conflict is the defining tragedy of today’s world. Religious conflict rages in Africa. Turkey is at war with the Kurds. Sectarian violence has torn a swath through the Middle East. From Scotland to Spain, separatist movements simmer throughout Europe. In Germany, neo-Nazi groups attack Syrian refugee camps, and ethnic and religious tensions are on the rise in asylum shelters. What are the causes of these and other conflicts? How can they be resolved? The seminar will provide an analytic “toolkit” to address these questions and students will research and write on a conflict of their choosing." International and Area Studies 194-002.

Globalization - "How and why are geographical patterns of employment, production, and consumption unstable in the contemporary world? What are the consequences of NAFTA, an expanded European Community, and post-colonial migration flows? How is global restructuring culturally reworked locally and nationally?" Geography 20-001.

Immigrants and Refugees in the US - "Overview of immigration policy in the U.S. from an international and historical perspective. Theories of migration, transnationalism, and adaptation will be addressed, along with skills required for working with refugees and immigrants facing difficulties. Addresses the impact of policy on who comes to the U.S. and the circumstances newcomers and their families face once here." Social Welfare 274-001.

Immigration and Citizenship - "We often hear that America is a "nation of immigrants." This representation of the U.S. does not explain why some are presumed to belong and others are not. We will examine both historical and contemporary law of immigration and citizenship to see how law has shaped national identity and the identity of immigrant communities. In addition to scholarly texts, we will read and analyze excerpts of cases and the statute that governs immigration and citizenship, the Immigration and Nationality Act." Legal Studies 132AC-001.

Islamophobia and Constructing Otherness - "This course will examine and attempt to understand Islamophobia, as the most recently articulated principle of otherness and its implications domestically and globally. The course will also closely examine the ideological and epistemological frameworks employed in discourses of otherness, and the complex social, political, economic, gender-based, and religious forces entangled in its historical and modern reproduction." Asian American Studies 132AC-001.

Middle East In Global Context - "This course provides Global Studies majors with an introduction to the Middle East region, broadly defined. It takes an interdisciplinary approach, joining the fields of history, political science, anthropology, religious studies, economics, and Middle Eastern studies. Students will be introduced to major historical themes in the study of Middle Eastern societies that are relevant in understanding contemporary intellectual debates and the origins, nature, and trajectory of war and peace in the region. Focusing on the 20th century, the course explores how the modern Middle East evolved politically, socially, and economically into a region burdened by webs of power and influence." Global Studies 110M-001.

Stevens Global Ambassadors Project: Public Health and Conflict in the Middle East - " Conducted in tandem with leading educational institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, this project-based virtual exchange course will offer students the unique opportunity to experience a meaningful cross-cultural exchange while learning about the public health implications of conflict and forced migration. Looking specifically at public health issues related to recent conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (i.e. the Iraq War and the Syrian Refugee Crisis), the course will be comprised primarily of case studies and an inter-disciplinary project, in which interdisciplinary and intercultural student groups seek to identify and intervene in a relevant public health issue." Middle Eastern Studies 199-01.

Texts on the Move: Literature and (E)migration- "To emigrate, Salman Rushdie asserts in his Imaginary Homelands, means “to lose language and home, to be defined by others, to become invisible, or, even worse, a target; it is to experience deep changes and wrenches in the soul.” Meanwhile, he goes on to posit, “the migrant is not simply transformed by [this] act; he transforms his new world” (210). Trans-national migration and displacement have profoundly shaped world literature, both thematically and practically. This course investigates both texts produced in diasporas and texts that piercingly dramatize the varied experiences of shifting homelands. We will consider primarily 20th and 21st century émigré fiction, with reference to important literary precursors. The course will focus on a number of themes, including: historical upheaval and contexts of migration, the notion of physical and conceptual borders and their solidity or porousness, the relationship between self and homeland, the role of language and silence in understanding and representing identity, migrants and/versus refugees, mobility and rights, intergenerational trauma and memory, imaginative geography, race and ethnicity, globalization and multiculturalism, and the possibilities and limitations for hybrid or multiple identities that are worked out in the literature of migration." Slavic Languages R5B 001.

Undocumented Subjects: Performance and Immigration in/outside the United States - "This course explores how performance practices and performance discourse intersect with immigration discourse in local, national, and international spheres. We consider how immigration discourses are staged by various subjects and institutions, and examine the visual, linguistic, and performative representations used. In particular, we analyze and write about performances that deal with issues about being undocumented. We will assess how writing about performance provides others frames for understanding the undocumented experience. We give attention to our writing in this course since we will be developing specialized skills and a language to talk about performance. Throughout the course, we will discuss the intersections of race, gender, and class within immigration. We will deal with literary and visual materials representing violence, death, and sex." Theater R1B-002.

Fall 2016

Contemporary Issues of Southeast Asian Refugees in the U.S - "This course will introduce students to the sociocultural, economic, educational, and political issues facing Southeast Asian refugees in the U.S. While the course focus is on the Asian American experience, references will be made to the pre-migration experiences and histories of the Southeast Asian refugee groups. The processes and problems in the formulation of refugee programs and services in the U.S. also will be addressed in their implications for refugee resettlement and adaptation experience. Emphasis will be placed on comparative analyses of the Southeast Asian refugee communities." Asian American Studies 125-001.

Cultural Forms of Testimony — From the Shoah to the Current Refugee Crisis - "How do the poetics of testimony forged in a postwar culture of trauma and witnessing affect contemporary frameworks for envisioning today’s refugee crisis? Theoretical writings (by Adorno, Arendt, Agamben, Derrida, Didier and Eric Fassin, Lanzmann, Rancière) will help us tease out some continuities and discontinuities between postwar debates on representation- in the artistic sense and the juridico-political sense- and contemporary reflections on the refugee crisis. We will examine a range of cultural production, including literature and visual media, to explore the following questions: To what extent does testimony- in the form of “bearing witness” to one’s own history or that of others- constitute a genre whose effects shape, if not produce, truth, identity and authority? Is testimony exclusively the province of the victim? How can we “site” the refugee in geopolitical and conceptual terms? How pertinent is the concentrationary history for thinking about refugees today? How do we discuss the relationship between bearing witness and the transformation of such witnessing into aesthetic form? To what extent can cultural frames put pressure on or re-envision existing politics of representation and protection? What are some possible relations between hospitality and artistic form?" French 260A-001.

Cultural Representations of Asylum in France - "This course investigates the itineraries and narratives of refugees who are seeking asylum in France today. Contemporary fiction and film will help us reconstruct aspects of a refugee’s flight from unlivable conditions and chart their perilous journey across land and sea into France. We will pay particular attention to the forms of personhood that emerge or are put into crisis by such experiences as clandestine passage, detention, surveillance and deportation, the stages of an asylum application, undocumented labor, etc. We will also consider the importance of narrative in organizing histories and selves in ways that are audible and visible for their place of sanctuary. These questions are pursued through readings of literature, cinema, testimony, theory and the press." French 183A-001.

Health and Human Rights - "The course examines the origins of health and human rights concerns and outlines a conceptual basis for human rights among health professionals. It provides an overview of the epidemiology of human rights violations worldwide and an analysis of the psychology of abuse. The course considers the role of health professionals in (1) documenting the health and social consequences of human rights violations and war; (2) treating survivors of abuse; (3) addressing specific human rights concerns of women and children; (4) identifying the impact of health policy on human rights; and (5) participating in human rights education and advocacy. The course will also examine issues of universality of human rights and cultural relativism and the role of accountability for the past abuses in prevention." Public Health 211-001.

The History and Practice of Human Rights - "What are human rights? Where did they originate and when? Who retains them, and when are we obliged to defend them? Through what kinds of institutions, practices, and frameworks have they been advocated and affirmed? And which are the human rights that we take to be self evident? The rights to speak and worship freely? To legal process? To shelter and nourishment? Do our human rights include high-speed internet access, as one Scandinavian country has recently proposed? Can human rights ever be global in scope? Or is the idea of universal human rights a delusion or, worse, a manifestation of cultural chauvinism? History will not answer these questions for us, but historical understanding can help us answer them for ourselves. “The History and Practice of Human Rights” examines the historical development of human rights to the present day, focusing on, but not confined to, the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While the idiom of human rights is frequently legalistic, we will ask how the idea of human rights might depend upon humanistic modes of comprehension and communication such as film, literature, music, and the arts: media that can stretch the horizons of elastic human empathy. More than a history of origins, however, this course will contemplate the relationships between human rights and other crucial themes in the history of the modern era, including revolution, imperialism, racism and genocide. Why, we must ask, did an era of recurrent and catastrophic political violence produce a language of universal human rights? Looking forward, can the proponents of human rights offer a redemptive alternative to twentieth centuryʼs catastrophes, or are human rights themselves another false utopia?" Letters & Science C140V-001.

Immigrants in the U.S. and the Legal Challenges They Face - "In this course, we will begin to understand U.S. immigration law by more closely examining two groups of immigrants: refugees and undocumented youth. Focusing first on refugees who come to the U.S. seeking asylum, you will learn about the legal process they must navigate, consider arguments for why the current system is unjust, and examine possibilities for reform. In the latter part of the course, we will turn to a second group: undocumented youth, particularly high school and college students, and we will examine the strategies they have used in advocating for legal protection. Throughout this course, we will explore the challenges immigrants face in navigating the legal system, questions of membership and belonging, and the extent to which our immigration laws achieve justice." Fall Program for Freshmen - Legal Studies R1B-001.

Middle Class Radicalization Across the Globe: The Re-birth of Populism in the United States, the Middle East, Latin America and Europe - "This course will focus on the wave of radicalism that has been sweeping the globe since the late 2000s. The precursor to this global wave was the rise of populist movements and regimes in Latin America in the 1990s. After the 2008 financial crisis, revolutions and protests erupted in quite dissimilar geographies: the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street in the US, the failed Arab revolutions, horizantalist revolts in Southern Europe, ISIS in the Muslim world, and right-wing radicalization in Venezuela and Ukraine. These movements also triggered each other. Tahrir inspired Occupy. The post-Arab Spring refugee wave (and fear of Islamism) fed into further right-wing radicalization in France, Poland, Germany, and Hungary. Repeating the Latin American experience, some of these populist movements might lead to populist regimes (or at least populist political options), as the rise of Trump, Corbyn, the daughter Le Pen, Syriza, Podemos, and Sanders suggests. Since it has been frequently stated that downwardly mobile middle-class youth are central to this “fall of the center,” we will discuss the concept of class. Not only academics and journalists, but even populist politicians themselves put the category “middle class” in the center of their appeal (most recently, Donald Trump pictured himself as the savior of the “disappearing middle class”). How can we test the claim that the sociological base of this new wave is indeed a class actor? Student projects will study the middle classes of particular countries, their politicization, and their contribution to mass movements and post-liberal regimes." Sociology 190-003.

Muslims in America - "The course traces Islam's journey in America. It will deal with the emergence of identifiable Muslim communities throughout the U.S. and focus on patterns of migration, the ethnic makeup of such communities, gender dynamics, political identity, and cases of conversion to Islam. The course will spend considerable time on the African American, Indo-Pakistani, and Arab American Muslim communities since they constitute the largest groupings. It also examines in depth the emergence of national, regional, and local Muslim institutions, patterns of development pursued by a number of them, and levels of cooperation or antagonism. The course seeks an examination of gender relations and dynamics across the various Muslim groupings, and the internal and external factors that contribute to real and imagined crisis. The course seeks to conduct and document the growth and expansion of mosques, schools, and community centers in the greater Bay Area. Finally, no class on Islam in America would be complete without a critical examination of the impacts of 9/11 on Muslim communities, the erosion of civil rights, and the ongoing war on terrorism." Asian American Studies 128AC-001.

Refugee in German Literature - "German literature has responded to the emergence of the refugee as a unique figure of modern political life in the twentieth century. Our focus will be on literature’s use of language and genre to explore the complex states of exception bound up with the refugee phenomenon. We will consider interventions in lyric, drama, and prose, by a range of authors at different junctures in twentieth-century literary and political history, as they embark upon the many literary paths of refugees. Along the way, we will examine how these texts challenge assumptions about identity, citizenship and belonging by calling our attention to questions of voice, narrative, and witnessing." German 179-1.

The Gulf States and the Arab Spring: Vive La Revolution or Vive La Counter-Revolution? "The Gulf States seemed impermeable to the 2011 Arab uprisings but behind the scenes saw regional developments as both threat and opportunity. This course examines the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular and their roles in an ongoing struggle for the heart and soul of a region." Middle Eastern Studies 150.2, taught by Peter Bartu.

US Foreign Policy In The Middle East - "This course covers the foreign policy of the U.S. in the Middle East with an emphasis on the last two decades. It consists of three main elements: the role of ideas and interests in shaping U.S. foreign policy; the content of the policies; and the consequences of those policies. We will also examine regional security, international development, the role of religion, technology and the Arab revolutions. The material covered will be of relevance to those looking to pursue future careers in a range of sectors including non-governmental organizations, international institutions, governmental agencies and research." Middle Eastern Studies 150-001.

Spring 2016

"Framing Migration," German 214 P001, taught by Deniz Göktürk. "In light of the EU's and individual nation-states' policy of enforcing their borders and differentiate between "real" refugees and economic migrants, this seminar will question approaches to research on transnational mobility and cultural diversity through the lens of aesthetic interventions, moving images, and literature. Our focus will be on the role of audiovisual media in projecting and complicating social imaginaries. Theoretical texts by Adorno, Arendt, Balibar, Clifford, Hall, Roemhild, Sassen and many others will complement our diachronic analyses."

"Global Conflict and the Refugee Crisis," taught at the Berkeley Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) by Beverly Crawford from the Center for German and European Studies. Note. There is an extensive reading list on the syllabus.

"Syrian Refugee Crisis," Development Engineering 290 P 001, taught by Kate Jastram. This course examines "the challenges facing Syrian refugees from a variety of perspectives, asking questions about international law, State responsibility, the role of development, the role of information technologies in the unfolding crisis, and the impact of gender and age on the protection needs of the refugees."

Fall 2015

"Who defines identify? Germany's struggle with inclusivity," November 9, 2015, summary of the course on September 21 and 23 by Gradey

Last updated July 6, 2016

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