Comparative Politics of Immigration

International migration has been one of the signature phenomena in the last few decades. This course examines immigration from a comparative historical and political perspective by drawing on European, American, and Asian examples. Part I explores theories and empirical evaluations of the economic, humanitarian, and cultural causes of immigration. Specifically we will address the following questions: Who migrates? Why do people migrate? What are the sending and receiving countries? Part II explores the consequences of immigration faced by receiving countries, as well as immigrants. We specifically focus on how native citizens, politicians, political parties, states, and the media respond to increasing immigration. How are immigrants perceived by public opinion? What are some of the ways politicians and political parties incorporate immigration in their agenda? What are some examples of anti-immigration movements? How do states implement policies and laws to control immigration? We also investigate the raced, gendered, and classed effects of the economic, social, and political integration of immigrants. We end the course on discussions of the meanings, roles, and enactments of societal membership and citizenship.

Download the syllabus (Smith College)


Feedback from students

“Overall, I thought this course was very interesting and Sarah incorporated lots of varied ways of presenting information. I also was incredibly supportive of the way in which she included the various events around campus that were related to the course. Actively engaging with the Noho workers center and attending the May Day workshops were some of the best elements of the course as it really allowed for practical application of the knowledge. She always tries hard and I love her focus on intersectionality, so I am very sad to hear that she will be leaving Smith!”

“Organization and delivery of course, setting of objectives. Course well-organized, clear objectives for each class period, well-coordinated assignments and activities specifically. Instructor was also flexible when necessary in regard to willingness to go above and beyond in ensuring each student could thrive in class, whether through one-to-one meetings or setting way for open communication among students.”

“Overall, Sarah was very nice and approachable. I think her knowledge in South East immigration is impressive and it was nice knowing that she was so experienced in the field, felt like I was learning from the best in that regard.”

“Well organized syllabus and execution, selected readings, interactive class activities (polling, moving between classes, group work, presentations, group Google doc questions).”

“The trip to the pioneer valley workers center was really interesting and helped frame some of the issues in the class. The group presentations also were helpful.”

“The readings were valuable! I also think that discussions were often helpful.”

“Very knowledge in the field–always came to class excited and willing to engage students. I liked that she was enthusiastic about the field and wanted to teach and share with us.”

“Enthusiastic, tried to come up with creative ways to discuss issues instead of just talking/lecturing.”

“Small class size; variety of assignments and readings; professor is always well prepared.”

“Engaging and very very helpful and compassionate. Very accessible and approachable during office hours.”

“I thought PPTS were helpful and would have liked more of them. The response papers seemed a bit like busy work, could have thought of better more engaging and different assignment. Readings were sometimes too long, but class time always seemed to be utilized well. Would have been nice to have guest speaker, field trip to immigration center was one of the most engaging interesting days. Really liked pictures, videos, and especially testimonials of immigrants–helped painted picture and make it more realistic.”

“Facilitating discussion and hearing student ideas. Giving helpful feedback on writing”