Community-Engaged Course Name: ANTH/SOCL 309 – Migration, Displacement, and Refugees
Community Partner: Commonwealth Catholic Charities – Refugee Resettlement Services
Course Description: This course examines what people go through when they are forced to flee their homelands under duress and the obstacles and opportunities awaiting them in new countries. How do natives of the host country react? How do newcomers navigate the social terrain of our country? We will take a long view of the experience of displaced peoples, looking at the history of immigration to the U.S. and linking current refugee crises to global economics and politics. Given the unique cultural background of each refugee and migrant population, how do new arrivals to our society adapt their traditions to ours? In this class, we will ask what it means for people to be forced from their homelands in the face of violence, persecution, poverty, or environmental destruction. We explore displacement and migration, not as a problem to be solved, but as sites of social and political critiques of colonization, war, human rights, and structural violence. We will address factors that lead 2 people to flee their homes as well as the physical and emotional traumas involved with leaving one’s home under duress and the obstacles and opportunities awaiting them in their new home countries. The foundational question that we will seek to answer in this class is: Why do migrants and refugees present such a problem in the world today?