039: Freshman/ Sophomore Seminar

Instructor: Nancy Scheper – Hughes

Term: Fall 2019

Time: F 12:00pm – 1:59pm

Room: 221 Kroeber

This freshman-sophomore seminar will be a ‘thinkery’ for freshman and sophomores. We will gather together at the end of the week to discuss current events bearing on the current ‘crisis’ of global immigration and its relationship to many factors from climate change, political chaos, drug cartels, poverty and violence.  Although this is a global phenomenon, we will focus on the US borderlands. We will examine the so-called ‘catastrophe’ of mass migrations from the point of view of the migrants themselves who are fleeing for their lives from political and domestic violence, drug cartels, gangs, death squads and extreme poverty, for which US policies in Central America are partly responsible. We will read both scholarly and timely journalistic coverage of US immigration policies including Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Trump’s “zero Tolerance” for children. Drawing on anthropological and ethnographic descriptions of migrants’ experiences in crossing the borders, detention policies by US agents ICE and Homeland security, and the government policy of ‘deterrence’ by forcing migrants to cross borders at isolated and dangerous routes. We will address the climate of race hatred and exaggerated fears of the stranger and where these sentiments arise and how they are fueled.  In contrast we will compare other nations ways of dealing with the immigrant crisis. We will also look at various moments when free speech, hate speech, censorship, civil rights and human rights are in contestation. What, if any, are the limits of free speech in a democratic society? What is hate speech? How do institutions like the university respond to confrontations that involve racial violence? What are the alternatives to violent forms of venting and confrontations?  The seminar will evolve according to the concerns, needs, and requests of the student participants.

Service category