CSP 1: "The California Immigration Semester"
The California Immigration Semester
(Fall 2016 - 16 units)
All first-year students are expected to take fall and spring Cultural Studies Program (CSP) seminars. Occasionally we offer a program of connected team-taught interdisciplinary courses that satisfy the CSP requirement while offering students a unique opportunity to explore a complex issue from a variety of perspectives.
The California Immigration Semester, offered in Fall 2016, meets not only the Fall CSP requirement but provides 16 units of credit—a full semester's course load—while meeting the Core U.S. Diversity and Global Connections distribution requirements and providing coursework that can potentially be applied toward majors in Spanish, CTSJ, and Sociology. This program is ideally suited for students interested in the social sciences or humanities, or for anyone interested in immigration within the United States and California specifically.
This integrated set of courses offers 32 students working closely with three faculty members the opportunity to analyze the sociohistoric, legal, and cultural tensions surrounding various (im)migrant communities in California. Students will explore the various waves of (im)migration across time to understand the diverse communities of California. The many immigrant communities of Los Angeles will serve as intellectual resources that will work in dialogic relation to classroom learning.
Students will also build critical and interpretive capacities through the examination of state policies, statistics and various historical and empirical studies. Additionally, through the construction and revision of several expository and research-based writings on immigration, students will hone their writing, argumentation and presentation skills.
The only prerequisites for this combined course are a curiosity for learning about distinct cultures, a willingness to visit immigrant communities, a fondness for films and documentaries and the enthusiasm and patience to work with children.
- Lectures and discussions are focused on the literary works and histories of immigrant communities throughout California, the social forces impacting those communities, and on writing skills and strategies.
- Field trips take participants to museums and historic immigrant communities around Los Angeles.
In addition to the CSP seminar, students who enroll in the California Immigration Semester will also take the following courses:
Spanish 105: "Rancho Hollywood: Los Angeles Migration Stories"
This course offers students the opportunity to analyze narrative stories, films, and other cultural artifacts that document a history of immigration and migration to Los Angeles from Mexico and Central America during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Many of the narratives, films, and other cultural works studied treat significant contemporary issues (e.g. the representation of history, questions of identity and alterity, questions of race and ethnicity, globalization, authority, the construction of class and gender in society) that Los Angeles faces as an emblematic socio-cultural space that continuously shifts as consequence of new arrivals to the city. Emphasis will be placed on studying narratives and films within the social, historical, and cultural contexts of the material they treat, and current critical theories. Specifically, this course presents a critical view of the representation of migrations to Los Angeles in order to understand how these migration stories function as a socio-cultural medium that document and occupy many geographical spaces that establish Los Angeles as a heterogeneous cultural place and space.
Sociology 105: "Immigrant Youth and Youth Cultures"
This course examines the role of youth cultures in the identity formation of immigrant adolescent youth residing in the Southwest region of the United States. Particular attention is paid to: (1) theories of acculturation and assimilation used to analyze the experiences of immigrant youth; (2) the impact of geographical location, social class, gender, race, sexuality, popular culture, mass media, and technology; and (3) the intersection of youth cultures, home cultures, and mainstream society.
CTSJ 105: Immigration and Education
This course locates the topic of immigration and education within historical, legislative, and cultural debates on what it means to be an American and who has the right to an Education. Students will explore and debate precedent-setting Supreme Court cases and they will research recent anti-immigrant movements in California, Arizona, and Colorado, which target the use of languages other than English in school settings. Against this historical and legislative backdrop, students will examine ethnographic research detailing the persistent challenges that immigrant and migrate children face in schooling and the ways in which they, their parents, and their communities experience those challenges
The California Immigration Semester faculty represent the departments of critical theory and social justice, Spanish literary and cultural studies, and sociology. Each faculty member brings his or her unique perspective, personal and professional, to issues of immigration and Los Angeles.
Dr. Salvador Fernández teaches courses in Spanish and Latin American literature and civilization, as well as Mexican and Chicano/a studies. His research areas of interest are the contemporary Mexican novel and Chicano/a studies.
Dr. Richard Mora is Chair and an Associate Professor of Sociology. His areas of research interest include masculinity, schooling, and juvenile justice. He has published in Gender and Education, Gender & Society, Journal of Educational Controversy, Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, Perspectives on Urban Education, and his scholarship is included in numerous edited volumes.
Dr. Mary Christianakis is an Associate Professor of Language, Literacy and Culture in the Critical Theory and Social Justice Department. Her main areas of research include education, childhood, and juvenile justice. She has published in numerous journals, including Urban Education, Journal of Educational Controversy, Perspectives on Urban Education, Teacher Education Quarterly, Journal of Inquiry and Action in Education, and Research in the Teaching of English, and her work appears in over a dozen edited volumes.
Want to sign up?
This program has a special enrollment procedure. To register for this course, please fill out this online form.
Registration for the California Immigration Semester has been extended; we will continue allow interested students to enroll until the course is full enrolled. and students will be accepted into the course in order in which they register.
Please note that this is your entire fall semester’s course load, and you will not be able to add any more 4-unit courses to your schedule. (You may add up to 2 more units of fractional courses when you arrive in August, if you wish.)
This course is capped at 32 students. We expect this to be a popular course, so we encourage you to sign-up early. Those who sign up after the class is fully enrolled will be placed on a waitlist and will be contacted should a seat open up prior to the start of classes.
Johnson Hall-McKinnon Center
- Mailing Address:
Occidental College (F-6)
1600 Campus Road
Los Angeles, CA 90041-3314