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Migration to the city globally compared (19th-21st centuries)


Admission requirements



Why did most Europeans settle more or less permanent in the booming cities of the Atlantic in the 19th and 20th centuries, whereas in India peasants in Mumbai often severed relations with their village of birth over generations? Why are most Chinese country folks barred from urban social services and education and thus remaining a ‘floating population’? How did shantytowns develop in Africa and South America and why do they draw so many migrants notwithstanding high levels of poverty and criminality? In this course we will try to answer these kind of questions by comparing different ways that migrants from the countryside settled in cities in the 19th and 20th centuries worldwide. We will both look at internal and international moves and compare patterns and systems in China, India, Africa the Americas and Europe. We will look both at the agency of migrants, visible in chain migration, ethnic enclaves and strong (ethnic) ties, as well as at the role of urban and rural institutions in channelling newcomers into cities. Especially the extent to which cities provide social provisions to reduce risks (unemployment, sickness, pensions) is crucial in influencing modes of migration, albeit always combined with family and household strategies. To understand differences between various parts of the world, we will furthermore systematically look at the (gendered) effects of family systems, culture and religion, but also at how economic system structure seasonal, temporary and permanent moves. Finally attention will be paid to overarching national and imperial settings in which the moves to cities took place.

Course objectives

Students will concentrate on a specific continent or country and develop expertise on this particular case which than can be compared in class to outcomes in other parts of the world.


See here.

Mode of instruction

Research seminar.

Assessment method

Final paper.



Reading list

To be announced.


via uSis.

Contact information

E-mail: Prof.dr. L.A.C.J. Lucassen