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									                           History 179: A History of American Immigration

Dr. Patrick Ettinger                                 Fall 2006, MW 12:00-1:15
Office: Tahoe Hall 3097                              Phone: 278-6589 (with voice mail)
Email:                             Mailbox: Tahoe Hall 3080
Office Hours: Mondays, 9:00-10:00, Tuesdays, 11:00-12:00, or by appointment

CSUS Catalog Description:
“A study of immigration in American life. Particular attention given to the shifting causes and patterns of
immigration, similarities and differences among the experiences of immigrants in the United States,
nativism, the development of immigration restrictions, and the effects of immigration on the economic,
social, cultural, and political life of the nation over time.”

Course Themes:
This course traces the history of immigration to the United States, with particular emphasis on
immigration during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although the course will proceed
chronologically, we will address ourselves to several principal issues. One focus of the course will be to
examine changing immigration patterns and the historical causes and contexts that brought different
groups of migrants to the U.S. at different times. Another focus will be on the contours of the “immigrant
experience” in the United States, and one of our challenges will be to try to explore meaningful
similarities and differences among various immigrants’ experiences over time. How did race, ethnicity,
gender, migration goals, class, religion, timing, area of settlement, and other factors shape the experiences
of immigrants to the United States? A third, closely related, theme will be on the ways that immigrants
have been received by Americans. We will explore the historical development of American “nativist”
movements and efforts to restrict immigration.

This is a course that encourages you to think about history not simply as “what happened in the past” but
as the stories we choose to tell about what happened in the past. The course materials will give you an
opportunity to think critically about the very idea of history, its purposes, and the manner in which we
create and debate stories about our American past. Perhaps, at the end of the semester, you will have
come to your own conclusions about the essential stories and themes in the history of American

Summary of Learning Objectives:
Students enrolled in History 179 will:
    • Develop an understanding of the centrality of immigration to United States history.
    • Deepen their awareness of the varied origins of immigrants to the U.S. and of the diverse
        experiences immigrants encountered in the United States.
    • Explore nativist movements and their effects on immigrants and immigration policy.
    • Evaluate primary source documents that illuminate immigration from a variety of perspectives.

Required Texts:
Thomas Bell, Out of This Furnace: A Novel of Immigrant Labor in America
Roger Daniels, Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life
Thomas Dublin, ed., Immigrant Voices: New Lives in America, 1773-1986
George J. Sánchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano
  Los Angeles, 1900-1945
Mark Wyman, Round-Trip to America: The Immigrants Return to Europe, 1880-1930
Anzia Yezierska, The Bread Givers

Additional Required Readings: For selected class meetings, additional readings have been placed on
reserve at the CSUS library or are available on the World Wide Web. These are noted on the syllabus.
Course Requirements:
1. Class Participation: Class attendance and participation are expected. You therefore need to keep up
with the schedule of course readings as outlined in the course calendar. Lectures, films, and class
discussions will build upon these required readings, so they should always be completed before class.
Class participation will account for fifteen percent (15%) of your final grade, and it will be measured not
simply by attendance but by your preparation for and active participation in the class. To help you get the
most out of the textbook Coming to America, I have posted questions for each chapter to my webpage
( on the “History 179 Reading Questions” link. I expect that students
will come to class prepared to answer any of that particular day’s reading questions if called upon to do
so. Students should also be prepared to field questions related to any other assigned readings. On days
when novel readings are due, I will use reading quizzes to assess your preparation.

2. Exams: There will be one midterm exam and one final exam. Both will be blue book exams,
consisting of essay questions and short-answer identifications drawn from the readings, lectures, and
films. The date of the midterm exam is marked on the syllabus. Each exam will be worth twenty percent
(20%) of the final course grade. The final exam will not be cumulative.

3. Book Essays: You will be required to write five-page analytical essays on both of the following
books: Mark Wyman’s Round-Trip to America and George J. Sánchez’s Becoming Mexican American.
These assignments require that you read conscientiously and think critically about works of substantial
historical scholarship. The essay due dates appear on the syllabus. Guidelines for writing each essay will
be provided at least two weeks prior to the due date.

4. Oral History Project: Each student will conduct a one- to two-hour, tape-recorded oral history
interview with someone who has immigrated to the United States and who can speak, from their own life
experiences, about the immigration experience. As a class, we will design interview questions to be used
for the interviews, but students will be responsible for contacting interviewees, scheduling and conducting
the interviews, producing a finding guide for the interview, and writing a short paper about life of their
interviewee. Copies of the completed oral history interview tapes may be deposited at the CSUS
University Archives and made available to future researchers. Guidelines for the oral history interview
will be distributed during the fourth week of class, and several class sessions will be devoted to preparing
students for this fieldwork exercise.

Course Grading:
Your final grade will be calculated in the following manner:
        Class Participation                       30 points      15%
        Midterm Exam                              40 points      20%
        Round-Trip to America Essay               30 points      15%
        Becoming Mexican American Essay           30 points      15%
        Oral History Project                      30 points      15%
        Final Exam                                40 points      20%
         TOTAL                                   200 points     100%

Important Notes:
1. Students must complete all assignments and take both examinations in order to pass the class.
Students who do not complete all of the assignments will be assigned a failing grade.
2. Because the due dates of assignments and exams are on the syllabus and because I want to be fair to
everyone in the class, I will only provide make-up examinations or paper extensions to students with
documented medical or family emergencies. Unless a student has been excused because of such an
emergency, I will deduct a full letter grade for each day (not each class session) that an essay is late.
3. Papers submitted for this course must be your own original work. I consider plagiarism to be a severe
breach of student ethics. Students found to have submitted papers that were not entirely their own
original work will receive no credit for the assignment. All incidents of cheating or plagiarism will be
handled in accord with the University’s “Policy on Academic Honesty.”
                                           Course Calendar

Lecture Topics                                        Reading Assignments

Week One: Introductions
September 6: Introduction and Class Overview

Week Two: Immigration to the American Colonies
September 11: Immigration in a Global Perspective     Coming to America, chapter 1; and
                                                      Immigrant Voices, Introduction

September 13: Colonial Patterns and Legacies          Coming to America, chapters 2-3

Week Three: Immigrants in a New Nation
September 18: Colonial Patterns and Legacies, II      Coming to America, chapter 4

September 20: Immigration to the New Nation           Coming to America, chapter 5; and
                                                      Immigrant Voices, chapters 2-3; and
                                                      chapters 1-3 of Rebecca Burlend, “A True
                                                      Picture of Emigration.” On reserve and at:
                                                      under “Burlend”)

Week Four: Passages to America: European Patterns
September 25: Irish, Germans, and Scandinavians       Coming to America, chapter 6

September 27: Who Were the “New Immigrants”?          Coming to America, chapter 7; and
                                                      Out of This Furnace, Part One; and Immigrant
                                                      Voices, chapter 4

Week Five: The Working Lives of Immigrants
October 2: Working Conditions for the New Immigrants Coming to America, chapter 8; Out of This
                                                     Furnace, Part Two; and Immigrant Voices,
                                                     chapter 5

October 4: Work, Mobility, and Return Migration       Round-Trip to America
Assignment Due: Essay on Round-Trip to America

Week Six: Passages to America: Asian Patterns
October 9: The Chinese and Japanese Experiences       Coming to America, chapter 9

October 11: “The Chinese Must Go!”                    Immigrant Voices, chapter 6; and “The Chinese
                                                      American Experience: 1857-1892” website at:
                                             Read William
                                                      Wei’s introduction, the editorial “The Chinese
                                                      Again” (editorial), and 3 Thomas Nast cartoons:
                                                      “Every Dog Has His Day,” “The Chinese
                                                      Question,” and “E Pluribus Unum”

Week Seven: The Rising Tides of Nativism
October 16: Strains of Nativist Thought, 1830-1924    Coming to America, chapter 10

October 18: Discuss Oral History Project
Week Eight: Immigrant Women in America
October 23: Discussion of The Bread Givers            The Bread Givers

October 25: Midterm Exam

Week Nine: The Advent of Mexican Immigration
October 30: Origins of Mexican Immigration            Becoming Mexican American, “Intro,” ch. 1-3;
                                                      Immigrant Voices, chapter 7

November 1: Mexican Immigration and the Border        Patrick Ettinger, “`We sometimes wonder what
                                                      they will spring on us next’: Immigrants and
                                                      Border Enforcement in the American West,
                                                      1882-1930,” Western Historical Quarterly, 38
                                                      (Summer 2006), 159-81. On reserve and at:

Week Ten: Americanization Campaigns
November 6: Visions of Americanization

November 8: War and “100% Americanism”                Out of This Furnace, Part Three

Week Eleven: The End of Open Immigration
November 13: Debate over the National Origins Act     Becoming Mexican American
Assignment Due: Essay on Becoming Mexican American

November 15: Repercussions of the Depression          Coming to America, chapter 11

Week Twelve: Great Depression and World War Two
November 20: Class, Culture, and Belonging            Out of This Furnace, Part Four

November 22: WWII: Refugees and Internees             Immigrant Voices, chapter 8

Week Thirteen: Immigration and the Cold War
November 27: The Bracero Program                      Oral history interview with former bracero
                                                      Rigoberto Garcia Perez. On reserve and at:

November 29: Shifting Immigration Policies            Coming to America, chapter 13-15

Week Fourteen: Immigrants in the Contemporary Era
December 4: Immigration in the Post-1965 Era          Immigrant Voices, chapter 10

December 6: Battles over Undocumented Immigration Coming to America, chapter 16
Assignment Due: Oral History Project

Week Fifteen: Immigration at the End of the Century
December 11: Discussion of Oral History projects

December 13: Discussion of Oral History projects

Final Exam:    Friday, December 22, 10:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

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