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First-Year Interdisciplinary Seminar: Migration and American Culture

Semester and Year FA 2016
Course Number FIRST-UG24
Section 001
Instructor Michael Dinwiddie
Days T
Time 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
12:30 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U


Open to Gallatin first-year students only. Please note: The extended meeting time on Friday accommodates travel to and from NYC sites.


This course will examine the immigrant and migrant narratives of varied racial and ethnic groups in the United States. What changes in identity and in political, social and economic status did they experience? What were the newcomers’ expectations of their environment, and what reality did they encounter? Our study will look at coping mechanisms, the forging of intra-tribal identity, the sociology of survival, and the concept of ‘otherness.’ We will visit notable sites including The Hispanic Society of America, the National Museum of the American Indian, Henry Street Settlement House, the Tenement Museum, the African Burial Ground, the Eldridge Street Synagogue, El Museo del Barrio, the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The Museum of Chinese in America, and the Lewis H. Latimer House. Readings may include such texts as  How the Other Half Lives  by Jacob Riis,  The Warmth of Other Sons  by Isabel Wilkerson,  The Lucky Ones  by Mae Ngai,  Down These Mean Streets  by Piri Thomas, and  Imagined Communities  by Benedict Anderson. Films include Clint Eastwood’s  Gran Torino  and the documentary  Family Name  by Mackie Alston.


All Syllabi

Course Type

First-Year Program: Interdisciplinary Seminars (FIRST-UG)