Pre-College Programs
Brown Leadership Institute

« Return to Course Catalog

Histories and Possible Futures: Leadership for Immigration Policy

Course enrollment will be available for this course once it is scheduled.

Course Description

Of the many contested policy issues that have risen to national attention since Trump’s presidency, perhaps none have been as controversial as the issue of immigration. Proposals about “the border wall,” deportations, and the banning of entire groups of people have received both praise and criticism. Yet, while debates about immigration policies have intensified, these conversations are certainly not new ones. In fact, immigration—and U.S. responses to it—have a long history defined by contradictions and shifting priorities.

Through stimulating discussions and activities, students will explore the history of immigration, deportation, and refugee policies enacted in response to past humanitarian crises. Students will investigate past and current U.S. border-making and monitoring; studying the use of immigrant processing centers, such as Ellis Island and Angel Island, as well as walls, policing, and detention centers. Students will also dive deeper into an analysis of how people with power; including politicians, doctors, employers, and the police, shaped immigration policy in the twentieth century, creating a foundation for today's policies and politics. This course will also require students to engage in transnational analyses to study the push and pull factors that dictate flows of immigrants. Ultimately, through immigration history and critical refugee studies, students will achieve a more nuanced understanding of the longstanding contradictions present in immigration laws, policing, and policies in the United States that influence global patterns of moment. A critical understanding of immigration, past and present, can help shape new policies and offer alternative futures. Students will apply this understanding to current events and as they develop their own Action plan.

This course provides a comprehensive foundation for future studies in a wide range of interdisciplinary humanities and social science fields including: history, anthropology, public policy, American studies, political science, and legal studies. Students with a wide array of career interests will find the course material relevant and applicable.

Students will be able to:
-- Identify key immigration policies in US history and articulate their significance for shaping and restricting patterns of migration
-- Identify key US foreign policies that created conditions for the global movement of people
-- Develop a facility with central concepts such as amnesty, border security, refugee, sovereignty, eugenics, alien citizen, deportation, undocumented, citizenship, and human rights.
-- Deconstruct many of the myths surrounding the immigration and refugee debates
-- Effectively evaluate current immigration policy, historical documents, and media representations of immigration to shape independent opinions and imagine alternative futures

Please Note:

This course is part of the Leadership Institute program, a 2-week immersive experience with busy days. Our mission is to help students develop and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. The Leadership Institute consists of three elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Participants are intellectually curious and compassionate students who are interested in social issues and creating positive change.

Additional programmatic information can be found here

youtube instagram