Courses 2018-2019

The following courses can be taken to meet the course requirements of the specialization. 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.

MER Specialization Courses 2018-2019

Please note that for all MER-related courses listed below, students must write their major paper for the course on a directly relevant MER topic.


Anthropology 9214 - Memory, History and Reconstructions of Identity

Randa Farah | Fall Term, Tuesdays, 9:30-12:30

The course examines the reproduction of the past, whether professional historical productions or popular memory, as entwined to present givens and interests. It similarly assumes that identity constructions inevitably invoke the past. The course includes readings on how memory is reproduced in the context of migration/diaspora, the political aspect of memory, and the struggle for and against power.

Hispanic Studies 9021A/CL 9733A - Literature, Music, and Migration: Jose Maria Arguedas

Victoria Wolff | Fall term, Thursdays 10:30-1:30, UC 3325

Peruvian writer José María Arguedas (1911-1969) skillfully weaves together literary artistic creation with essential realities of Andean environment, folklore, and society. As a writer of short stories, essays, novels, and poetry and a trained anthropologist, Arguedas frequently focused on music as an important cultural expression linked to the vitality of nature and environmental activism, cultural resistance and struggle, as well as an enduring source of indigenous and mestizo (mixed) identities. Furthermore, Arguedas wrote at a time of rapid modernization, urbanization, and migration in Peru; historical divisions between the sierra (highlands) and the costa (coast) were brought to the foreground of national debates related to issues of linguistic alienation, cultural dislocation, and environmental degradation. This graduate seminar will explore topics of literature, music, and migration in a diverse corpus of writings by Arguedas. Our primary source readings will be completed by extensive secondary sources from a variety of perspectives. Graduate students will be assisted in developing essay-length research projects on related topics.

History 9601A – Roots of Underdevelopment: The Economic History of the Islamic Middle East

Maya Shatzmiller | Fall Term, Wednesdays 10:30-12:30

The course is methodologically divided into three sections in reverse chronological order. In the first section, we read and discuss literature defining economic, social, political deficiencies in the contemporary Middle East. In the second we read and discuss the writings suggesting and analyzing various factors for the historical decline of the Middle East. In the third section, we read on and discuss the economic performance of the early Islamic Middle East and the economic development of the region in the 19th and the 20th centuries. Our goal is to develop new original thinking on the issue of the historical roots of the current conditions of the Middle East. We select, understand and pass judgement on the criterions used in measuring the social, political and economic development and whether we should look as to how could history explain them.

History 9830A – Colonialism in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Frank Schumacher | Fall Term, Fridays 11:30-1:30

This course examines the history of modern era colonialism and its legacies in a comparative fashion. It utilizes case studies from various European colonial empires as well as Japan and the United States, draws on multi-disciplinary insights from fields such as history, sociology, geography, and anthropology, and explores the economic, military, social, cultural, intellectual, and environmental dimensions of colonialism.

Political Science 9723A – Genocide

Joanna Quinn | Fall Term, Thursdays 1:30-3:30

An examination of the theoretical and methodological issues related to the topic of genocide and a consideration of empirical cases of genocide and genocidal acts, such as “ethnic cleansing.” The course begins by looking at the definition of genocide provided 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 selected specific cases, beginning with those of the Armenians and Nazi Germany in the first half of the Twentieth century, and then move to discuss more recent cases, including those in Cambodia, Rwanda, and Bosnia, among others.

Political Science 9762A – Theories of Global Justice

Richard Vernon | Fall Term, Thursdays 11:30-1:30

A seminar on some of the main theories of/issues in global justice in recent political thought.

Sociology 9373A – Migration

Teresa Abada | Fall Term, Thursdays 9:30-11:30

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.


Geography 9118B – Policy Formation and Futures: Critical and Analytical Approaches

Michael Buzzelli | Winter Term, TBD

This course is an advanced seminar on policy formation and policy futures. There is long-standing interest in policy development beginning with agents and influencers, adoption and development, implementation and outcomes and to some extent policy evaluation. This course takes a critical and analytical approach to understanding and analyzing policy formation and futures focused in particular on public policy.

Geography 9518B – Advanced Cultural Geography: A Cultural Politics of Space

Jeff Hopkins | Winter Term, Thursdays 10:00-12:00, SSC 2322E

In this course we read, we discuss, we think, we write. The primary goal of this course is to encourage the graduate student to develop, question, critique and apply conceptions of culture, cultural identities and practices to his/her/their research interests. ‘Cultural geography’ is “one of the most rapidly growing and energetic sub-fields of Anglophone geography over the past 25 years.”[1] In fact, there has been what is termed ‘the cultural turn’ within many branches of human geography and the larger social sciences. The topics of ‘culture’ and the methods used to examine them are thus wide ranging and interdisciplinary employing a critical and political approach grounded in contemporary social theory and ‘cultural studies.’

Within contemporary cultural geography specifically, ‘culture’ is approached as a site of contested identities and practices and is thus intrinsically ‘spatial’ and ‘political.’ The student will learn how and why culture and space are intrinsic to understanding and explaining a society’s plurality of conflicting interests, ideologies and relations, and, ideally the role(s) space may play in resolving differences in a spirit of equity and social justice. Central to our enquiry is the question of how major markers of cultural identity— ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, the body—are distributed and practiced spatially? How and why people are spatially included or excluded because of identity? And how do the aspatial or non-spatial processes of economy, politics and power give rise to these cultural landscapes?

History 9307B – Early America and the Atlantic World

Nancy Rhoden | Winter Term, Fridays 9:30-11:30

This graduate course on early American history examines the settlement of the mainland British colonies of North America in the 1600s and 1700s, their development in the context of a British Atlantic world, the American Revolution, and the formation of the early U.S. republic. Particular attention is paid to understanding the character and diversity of British colonialism and the formation of the United States through comparisons with other New World empires as well as the rich context of the multi-national, multi-ethnic Atlantic World.

Political Science 9511B – International Relations

Adam Harmes | Winter Term, Tuesdays 12:30-2:30

This course provides students with an advanced introduction to theoretical approaches and contemporary issues within the study of International Relations. The first part of the course examines explanatory theories of IR and their application to foreign policy decisions as well as to the emergence and effectiveness of international agreements, norms and institutions. The second part of the course examines the ideological component of IR theories and how they serve as a guide to foreign policy. It also examines a variety of current foreign policy issues.

Sociology 9375B – Immigration Policy Development & Evaluation Strategies

Michael Haan | Winter Term, Fridays 9:30-12:30

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.

Women’s Studies and Feminist Research 9458B – Critical Race Theory

Erica Lawson | Winter Term, 10:30-1:30

This course is a critical engagement with race, ethnicity, and racism as they arise, broadly, in feminism and feminist scholarship. Through historical and contemporary readings in feminism and race, the course addresses these fundamental questions: How did race and racism shape early feminist aspirations? What points of differences, similarities, and contestations did these movements engender? What are their legacies in contemporary feminist projects? How did patriarchal and racist systems come about – who benefits from them and at whose expense? How do intersectional identities both challenge and enrich feminist discourse and practice? And how do existing material realities of sexism and racism trouble celebratory ‘post-feminist/racial’ discourses? We will address these questions, especially, but not exclusively in areas such as law, media, sexuality, imperialist projects, and the “war on terror” as we consider the possibilities for stronger feminist and anti-racist collaborations.