Collaborative Graduate Program in Migration and Ethnic Relations

Courses 2017-2018

The following courses can be taken to meet the course requirements of the program. Required courses are MER 9000 plus a total of two half courses from the list below: One half course from your home program, and one half course from an outside program. To register for a MER approved course outside of your home program please contact the course instructor for approval, complete and sign the Request Form, and return the form to your home program’s graduate assistant for course enrollment. Contact departments or instructors for further course details.


MER 9000 - Colloquium Series in Migration and Ethnic Relations
Credited or Non-credited requirement (as determined by home department).
M. Cleveland, Full Year  SSC 5220  Thursdays "roughly bi-weekly", 4:00 - 5:30
Associated faculty, students, and guest speakers present their research. There will be at least ten colloquia per year, with some of the talks involving attendance at specific occasions in series organized by other groups. Besides the colloquia in which research is presented, there will be other scheduled meetings in which students will discuss professional issues, opportunities for collaboration, and other topics.

Program Courses

Anthropology 9225A - Special Topics in Anthropology: The Faces and Phases of Nations and Nationalisms
R. Farah, Fall Term     Wednesdays 10:30 - 1:30  
From its liberationist anti-colonial moment, to its ugly racist and fascist face, nationalism - the ideological motor of the ‘nation’ and nation-state has multiple faces and phases. Most scholars agree that the genesis of national consciousness and the concept of the ‘nation’ are attributed to the two momentous revolutions of the 18th century: The North American colonies’ rebellion against Great Britain leading to the American Declaration of Independence (1776), and the French Revolution (1789) – the latter having literally beheaded Absolutism in the figure of Louis the XVI. These momentous events fomented the meaning of the ‘nation’ as a social unit, or in Anderson’s famous expression, imagined community, a unity among equal and free citizens with authority to invest sovereignty in the state – the ‘nation-state’ – thereby obscuring class struggles and other social fissures in society. The history of the emergence of the nation-state is closely entwined with capitalist expansion and the colonial domination of millions of people and a vast stretch of the Earth’s territory for markets and cheap labor. There in the colonial world of ‘natives’, the noble ideals of the Enlightenment were suspended. Thus, anti-colonial national liberation movements in the ‘Third World’ sought to mobilize the largest alliance of classes in a ‘front’ against colonialism. Many of these movements inherited colonial institutions and as new ‘independent’ states became oppressive regimes and continued to orbit in the imperial sphere, unable to achieve real sovereignty and independence. A postcolonial theory and critics of postcolonial scholars emerged out of this condition. In this course, we examine the various theories, types and manifestations of nations and nationalism, and will draw on case studies from Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Anthropology 9224B - Advanced Refugee and Migrant Studies: Risky Passages and Restrictive Borders - Refugees and the Contemporary Challenges
R. Farah,  Winter Term     Tuesdays 9:30 - 12:30    (Cross listed with Anthropology 3389G)

Airports, harbours and militarized borders furnished with cameras and detectors are symbols of an era of increasing fear, discrimination, and dehumanization of migrants and refugees. Some scholars use the term “global apartheid” to describe borders as barriers. ‘Fortress Europe’ being a clear example for restricting and controlling the entry of most people from the global South. In this global landscape, place of origin, class, national/ethnic identity, or religion are markers for inclusion or exclusion, of acceptance or rejection, but of mobility and immobility. In contrast, borders-as-bridges facilitate the movement of people deemed ‘civilized’ and ‘risk-free’, along with capital and commodities.  National security and the threat of terrorism are slogans invoked to mobilize support for this skewed cartography, and used as pretexts to deny entry, deport or detain individuals, who are often victims of wars and weapons unleashed by the very states restricting or preventing entry. Refugee status and citizenship have become much more difficult to obtain for people fleeing wars, violence, persecution, or natural disasters. Moreover, those seeking refuge, are increasingly recast as potential criminals, undesirable, security threats, or queue-jumpers deviously manipulating western humanitarianism, democracy, and ‘tolerance’. However, the increasing militarization of borders is not hindering many of the poor or those exposed to violence and wars from attempting to seek safety, and a better life. Many take perilous journeys, risking death by drowning as they sail high seas in flimsy boats, or crossing harsh deserts to avoid guards and sophisticated border technologies that aim to catch and trap them, as one does insects or animals in a net. Others remain trapped on borders in detention centers, miserable refugee camps, or within dangerous zones, unable to seek any form of protection or safety from any state.

Using readings, lectures, presentations, class discussions and documentary films, the course engages students to critically examine changing and complex borders and what they tell us about the global order, and the effects of these on migrants and their journeys.  In the first part our focus is historical and global, dealing with the emergence of the international refugee regime, followed by the contemporary erosion of refugee rights and international protection. We will draw on case studies and ethnographies such as the US-Mexico border, Fortress Europe, and other examples from around the world, including the recent massive displacement of people from the Middle East and North Africa. We will discuss how refugees strategize to adapt to changing border regimes. We will read/hear through stories and documentaries, the voices of refugees as we follow their precarious journeys to desired harbours of refuge, which do not necessarily turn out to be the ‘promised land’ they imagined, and do not always have happy endings.

Geography 9106B - Development Geography
C. Hunsberger, Winter Term  Thursdays 1:00 - 4:00

In this course we will wrestle with the historical context, key political economic processes and institutions, and conflicting theories that fall under the rubric of development and its modern sister, globalization. In addition, we will see that ‘thinking geographically’ about development involves understanding how the meaning of places and regions are socially constructed, and how theoretical and conceptual frameworks about development have been debated. We aim to be sensitive to regional differences based on historical experiences and geographical particularities, but give attention to overarching themes and dominant political economic processes undefined.

Geography 9109B – Geography of Migration
B. Dodson, Winter Term     Wednesdays 1:00 - 4:00 

Trends, patterns and processes of migration, drawing from diverse theoretical perspectives to examine migration flows in a number of international contexts. Particular attention is paid to the development impacts of migration as well as to emerging transnational migrant practices.

Geography 9518 - Advanced Cultural Geography
J. Hopkins, Winter Term     Thursdays 9:30 - 11:30
The course examines the production, practices and interpretations of culture, the major cultural markers of identity - e.g., class, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, nationality, body - and the roles of space and power therein. The primary goal is to encourage the students to develop, question, critique and apply these concepts and this literature to his or her research interests.  

Hispanic Studies SP 9651  - Migration and Ethnic Relations in Colonial Latin American Art (ca. 1520-1810)
A. Robin, Fall Term    Wednesdays 3:30 - 6:30
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to Colonial/Viceregal Latin American art (ca. 1520-1810) through the perspective of contact, migration and ethnic relations.  Beginning with the Conquest of America by the Spaniard and Portuguese, America received outside influence that had a major impact on artistic creations.  Not only did European artist come to work in America, but there was an on-going artistic commerce between the metropolis and the colonies.  Patrons, religious or secular, also came with their own cultural background.  Prints, books and ideas also circulated widely.  The artistic influence was not, however going in a one way direction.  Moreover, the indigenous presence is something that gave Latin American Viceregal art a unique touch, but also the Asian and African influences must be taken into account.  All of those traditions somehow met in Latin America and gave birth to unique artistic creations.  Some topics that will be considered through reading and discussing of selected texts: the encounters, race and ethnic relations as an artistic topic, early collecting, the artists behind the works of art, patronage, devotion to images of Christ and the Virgin, gender issues, the materiality of artwork, Asian and African influences.

History 9307A - Early America & the Atlantic World, 1600-1820
N. Rhoden, Fall Term  Monday 1:30 - 3:30
Members of this seminar will read and discuss recent literature on the history of settler colonialism in North America (and some comparative studies).  Settler colonies like the U.S., Canada and other British dominions are societies in which white European men and women invaded a place in order to settle there permanently, and used  political, legal, cultural, and economic structures to transform it into their space, turning  into its "natives".  New gender norms and racial hierarchies arose from white settler colonial methods of taking land and extracting labour themselves. 

History 9718B -Race and Gender on Imperial Frontiers
Shire, Winter Term, Tuesday 9:30 -12:30

In this course we will read and discuss recent literature on the history of settler colonialism in North America alongside comparative studies of other settler societies around the globe. 

Political Science 9723B - Genocide
Quinn, Winter Term   (Time & day to to be determined) ( Cross listed with Political Science 4426G)
An examination of the theorretical and methodological issues related to the topic of genocide and a consideration of empirical cases of genocide genocidal acts, such as "ethinic cleansing."  The course begins by looking at the definition of genocide pprovided by the 1948 UN Genocide Convention and the legal-political context in which that convention was held. We will examine recent debates and alternative theoretical models by referring to specific cases, beginning with those of the Armenians and the Jews in the first half of the Twentieth century, and then move to discuss more recent cases of genocides and genocidal acts, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, among others.

Sociology 9331A - Death, Fertility, and Migration: Demographic Analysis of Social Change
R. Margolis, Fall Term     Tuesday 1:30 - 4:30
Introduces students to the concepts and tools used by demographers to study the size, structure, and dynamics of human populations. It covers the collection, evaluation, and analysis of demographic data, census and vital registration systems, basic measures of mortality, fertility, and migration, life table construction, and population projections.  


Sociology 9373A - Migration
T. Abada, Fall Term     Thursday 9:00 -12:30 
Determinants and consequences of internal and international migration are studied.  Theory and methods, as well as demographic and socio-economic issues related to both types of migration are discussed.

Sociology 9375B Immigration Policy Development and Evaluation Strategies
M. Haan,  Winter Term    Wednesday 9:30 -12:00

This course will provide an overview of Canadian immigration policies, and the many changes that have occurred to these policies in recent history. Students will learn about the admission system for permanent residents, and the many different types of temporary statuses that individuals use to enter Canada. We will also investigate how these policies were developed, and some of the techniques and strategies that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of Canada’s immigration system.

Sociology 9147A - Social Inequality
S. Waite, Fall Term   Wednesday 9:30 -12:30
The purpose of this course is to advance our understanding of a number of theoretical approaches to inequality. Rather than examining separately different forms of inequality, such as racial of gender inequality, this course examines theoretical approaches that are use to explain these and other forms of inequality in more general terms.

Women's Studies and Feminist Research 9592B - Gender and Development: Theory, Practice, Advocacy
Bipasha Baruah, Winter Term  Tuesday 1:30 - 4:30
This course seeks to provide an introduction to ‘gender and development’ as a domain of theory, practice, advocacy and interaction. The course is informed by the needs and interests of future ‘practitioners,’ i.e. students who hope to engage in research, project design and implementation, policy analysis, advocacy and/or networking in the ‘gender and development’ field or a closely related domain. To best serve the needs of such students, a few lectures of the course are devoted to providing students with a historical perspective on the evolution of the theory and practice of gender and development discourse, and rest of the course focuses almost exclusively on key contemporary and emerging gender issues and debates. Students who do not intend to work as gender and development ‘practitioners,’ but who want to acquire an up-to-date understanding of the field are welcome in the course, which is open to all graduate students with an interest in the contemporary theory and practice of gender and development.