January 2013 Archives

Jan. 30: Settlers, Servants, and Slaves in Colonial America

Immigration in the news: Obama immigration reform speech, 1/29/13

Native American Populations and Depopulation: Arrival of Spanish, French, and Dutch in the 1500s led to slavery, warfare, and massive depopulation (see Menard essay on immigration as an "invasion" and "one of the great demographic catastrophes of human history")

-"Virgin Soil Epidemic" - indigenous populations had no immunities to protect them from European-born diseases like smallpox, scarlet fever, typhoid, chicken pox, diptheria, etc.

-"Ecological Imperialism": Initial mass depopulation made it easier to conquer America/Native Americans; pandemics are disastrous not only because of population decimation, but also because of the impact on cultural and religious practices, interruption of crop planting, etc.

1500: 5 M people in North America
1800: 600,000 to 1M
1900: 250,000

European Colonialism of the Americas
English Colonies in North America

Colonial Settlers to the New World
Indentured Servants: More than 50% of immigrants to the middle and southern colonies entered as bound labor (see Moraley)

African Slave Trade
-9-10M African slaves forcibly taken to the Americas; 400,000 to English colonies
-The "Middle Passage" (see Equiano); Est. 15% percent of those embarked did not survive the 3 week voyage; 1/3 more died in their first year of enslavement
-Slaves in the Colonies: 1790-1810 = Peak years of U.S. slave trade (c. 190,000 slaves arrive; 399,000 - 523,000 total arrive in British North America from 1701-1870

Jan. 28: Approaches to Immigration History

Immigration in the News:
DREAM Act-ivists pressure Obama and Congress to move quickly on immigration reform New York Daily News, 1/27/13

Technology firms holding out hope for high-skilled immigration reform, The Hill blog, 1/27/13

Lawmakers agree: It's now time for immigration fix, Arizona Daily Star, 1/27/13

Rethinking Why People Move
-"Push/Pull" Theories: Older (macro and micro neo-classical economics) model traditionally used to explain migration.

Macro: Political, economic, social changes make the homelands unstable or harder in which to prosper, pushing them out to other places. At the same time, opportunity - usually economic - is expanding in another country, pulling migrants there. International migration is caused by geographic differences in the supply of and demand for labor.

Micro: Migrants make a spontaneous and rational decision to move based on rational calculations of future prospects, alone and/or within families and households. People choose to move to where they can be most productive.

This approach obscures important other factors that facilitate migration (foreign imperialism, roles of recruitment agencies, roles of foreign and homeland governments in promoting migration, culture of migration).

-World Systems / Globalization Theories: Newer model used to explain migration in both the past and the present. Interconnected world economic systems (imperialism, capital investments, manufacturing, changes in traditional agricultural production) displace people while also creating a need for labor elsewhere

What sustains migration once it begins?
-Culture of migration:: Familiarity and positive association with migration creates a culture of desire to migrate. Letters, communications from relatives and friends already abroad ("America letters" from early 19th century, emails, skype, and blogs today) send optimistic images about life in the U.S. Globalization of American culture (movies, TV, celebrity culture) abroad creates romantic image of America and promotes migration. Often results in chain migration.

-Institutionalization of migration: how labor recruiters, organizations, non-profit organizations, collaborate across national borders to facilitate migration.

-Chain Migration: Process of migration by which a single migrant or group of migrants serves as the first in a chain of related migrants to settle in the same are (family, village ties). Related to culture of migration.

Migrant: person who moves to another country with or without the intention to stay permanently. These individuals can be both elite expatriates with abundant financial resources, or working-class migrants who cross borders to reunite with families once the work season has ended.

Transnational: migration process in which people live lives stretched across national borders. Transnational migrants ("transmigrants")are often simultaneously incorporated in sending and host societies through dual citizenship and/or maintaining families, networks, identities that span borders.

Immigrant: Migrates with the intention to settle, but can still move back and forth between home and host societies and maintain connections with both

Sojourner: Migrates with the intention of a temporary stay

Settler: Migrates as part of an imperial mission to colonize the land and is able advantage of recent colonial conquests of land and/or people

Alien: technically means "foreign resident," but has been used in derogatory ways to emphasize outsider status

Illegal Immigrant: may have false papers; may have overstayed a visa; may have entered the country without inspection or documentation. Considered derogatory and dehumanizing in that it equates irregular immigration status with serious crime

Undocumented Immigrant: entered the country without inspection or documentation
Refugee/Asylee: someone who has fled his/her country of nationality due to a "well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion" and is unwilling or unable to return to it. Status that leads to a resettlement process in another country

Jan. 23: Introduction

Immigration in the News This Week:
"7 Numbers That Tell The Story of Obama on Immigration," ABC News
"The Immigration Saga Continues," New York Times

Understanding Immigration in U.S. History
The "Immigrant Myth"

Periods of Migration

Colonial Period (1607-1790)
Pre-Industrial (1790-1870)
Industrial Migration (1870-1935)
Post-Industrial (World War Two - present)

Writing Resources and Guidelines

Course Information & Syllabus

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