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States, Citizens and Migrants



Migration is perhaps the most salient political and sociological phenomenon of the contemporary world. But it is not new. Indeed, the interaction between citizen and non-citizen is one of the oldest questions of politics. What is the nature of these citizen/non-citizen interactions and how have they evolved over time? How can thinking historically and theoretically about the question of migration help us understand the geopolitical phenomenon we experience today? This course focuses on political and social theory – foregrounding three contemporary theorists, Julia Kristeva, Bonnie Honig and Seyla Benhabib – with the aim of uncovering modes of citizen/non-citizen interactions in different time periods as well as the origins, complexities and ramifications of the sociological fact of migration we experience today. Note: this is a reading intensive course; students are advised to do some preparation before term to make this more manageable.

Course objectives:

This course aims to challenge and destabilize the terms of contemporary discourse on migration, including what it means to be a citizen or a non-citizen, to immigrate or emigrate, to be static or in motion. These different conceptualizations will be discussed and debated in class with the aim of providing students with a vocabulary and toolkit for approaching the problem of migration today. The final project will use first-hand materials – contemporary migrant accounts – and analyze them using the empirical and conceptual frameworks treated in class.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

28 hours of classes (attendance is mandatory)
140 hours of reading and class preparation (20 hours per week over 7 weeks)
112 hours to complete the research essay
Total: 280 hours

Assessment method

Participation & Class Presentation (30%)
Final research paper (70%)
The final research paper will only be graded if the student has attended the seminars
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Reading list

The reading list and the course syllabus will be posted on Brightspace before the start of the course.


See 'Practical Information'

This course is earmarked for the specializations PLJ, NECD, IP and NP