HISTORY 399 - Topics in History
Fall 2021, Section 002 - Refugees in America
Instruction Mode: Section 002 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May be elected five times for credit.
Primary Instructor:


How have refugees experienced forced migration and resettlement in the United States, and what do their stories reveal about American life overall? Covering different historical periods and different refugee communities, this writing-intensive capstone seminar will address the history of the legal regulation of refugee migrations; the political debates surrounding refugees; the significance of religion, race, ethnicity, and national identity in refugee history; and the experiences of refugees in resettling and establishing a new life in a new society. We will take a transnational view of forced migration, with attention to the ways that war, empire, and foreign policy have shaped refugees’ lives. We will explore refugee experiences by reading recent historical literature and considering a rich array of the primary source material, including fiction, memoirs, government documents, oral history interviews, films, and maps. In particular, students will engage in the refugee oral histories collected through the Religion and Resettlement Project at Princeton University and produce writing that facilitates the public dissemination of that research.

Course Requirements:

This course requires regular participation in lectures and discussion sections, timely completion of reading and writing assignments, and active involvement in writing workshops. There is no midterm or final exam. As a course that fulfills the Upper-Level Writing Requirement, it includes the following components:

  • 25-40 pages of polished (i.e., revised) writing;
  • sequenced writing assignments that build on one another over the course of the semester;
  • substantial writing-related instruction and discussion;
  • an expectation that you will revise at least 50% of your writing;
  • at least three opportunities for you to receive feedback on your writing in progress from me or your peers.

Intended Audience:

This course is accessible to all undergraduate students, especially upper-level students. It is particularly valuable for students in ethnic studies programs who would like to do research on a specific community of displaced people - e.g., Vietnamese refugees, Syrian refugees - and have the course count for their program requirements.

Class Format:



HISTORY 399 - Topics in History
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
002 (LEC)
 In Person
F 10:00AM - 1:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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