nl en

History & Politics of Global Migration




Admissions requirements



In this course we will examine how migration has shaped the modern world. As we will discover, human movement across oceans and borders has led to both positive and negative social, political, economic and cultural change. We will start by looking at the various theories put forward to explain why different people move and we will discuss the consequences this has for the sender communities, the receiver communities and for migrants themselves. We will then turn to more empirical examples of migration linked to colonialism, the slave trade, the movement of indentured workers, labour migrants and those in search of asylum. Each week we will examine a different type of movement. One weekly seminar will be dedicated to an historical case study, while the other weekly seminar will focus on a more contemporary case study on a related type of movement. We will end by looking at the politics of immigration from a historical and contemporary perspective.

Due to the global nature of the course, texts will include studies concerning Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, the Gulf states and Australasia. The course will also include an excursion.

Week 1: Migration theories
Week 2: Colonialism
Week 3: Slavery
Week 4: Indentured labour
Week 5: Labour migration
Week 6: Asylum
Week 7: Migration politics
Week 8: Reading week

Course objectives

The main aims of the course are:

  • To provide students with an overview of how migration has affected society since the 1700s

  • To enable students to consider contemporary migration debates from an historical perspective

  • To expose students to the various disciplinary approaches that scholars use to examine migration

  • To provide students with a range of opportunities to develop their analytical skills

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Apply migration theory to the analysis of empirical case studies

  • Compare and contrast Europe’s experiences of migration with other continents

  • Independently formulate clear and well-argued opinions concerning migration

  • Analyse and evaluate literature and sources for the purpose of producing an original scholarly argument

  • Students will be expected to demonstrate these skills during seminar debates, presentations and written assignments.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course will be taught predominantly through seminars. There will also be one group excursion. The first seminar of the week will focus on historical migration and will include a short group presentation (c. 15 minutes). The second seminar of the week will concentrate on more contemporary issues and will be predominantly student-led. A group presentation (c.15 minutes) will provide an overview of the topic and then these same students will lead the group discussions that follow. Each seminar will also usually comprise a class discussion of an image, a video clip, a short historical document or a piece of music relating to a particular theme.


Each student will write four short individual assignments on the readings (500-750 words each), participate in two group presentations (one historical, one contemporary) and write an essay of approximately 3,000 words. Students are expected to play a very active role in seminars.

  • Actively engage in class discussions (15%)

  • Participate in two group presentations (20%)

  • Write four 500-750 word critical analyses of the readings (20%)

  • Present an ‘elevator pitch’ about your essay topic (5%)

  • Write a 3,000 word essay (40%)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

All compulsory reading will be available online via links on Blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact