• Course ID: 050:271
  • Credits: 3
  • SAS Core Curriculum Goals: CCD, SCL

Rutgers University prides itself on its racial and ethnic diversity. Indeed, the state of New Jersey ranks as one of the top destinations for immigrants to the United States, a distinction that it has held in both the past and present. At the same time, New Jersey is also one of the most segregated states in the United States, and has been the site of nativist, anti-immigrant politics. This course investigates immigration to New Jersey through an interdisciplinary framework, and uses methods and sources from history, literature, film, legal studies, sociology, political science, and ethnic studies to try and make sense of what it means to call New Jersey an “immigrant state.” Together, we will examine the experiences of immigrants from the Dominican Republic, Korea, India, the Philippines, Mexico, and China, who came to New Jersey after 1965. We will also examine European sources of immigration to New Jersey, and the history of immigration from Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Russia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Using New Jersey as a case study, we will interrogate how the idea of the United States as a “nation of immigrants” has been constructed in popular and political discourse, and how race, class, gender, and sexuality have shaped immigrants’ experiences and complicated what it means to be an “American” in different eras.