HIS2913: Immigrant Nations: US and Israel
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Course syllabus / YU only
►COURSE DESCRIPTION The course surveys the political, cultural, and social implications of large scale immigration to the US and to Israel. Historically, not all immigrants were welcome, and both nations have a record of resorting to selectivity, or, outright exclusion of the less desirable newcomers. In the case of the US, for example, the Act of 1790 which denied citizenship status to black males, was a model and a tool to “racialize ” groups such as the Chinese and the Irish in mid 19th century, and later, the Eastern and Southern European newcomers. Similar model was constructed in the early days of the pre-state Palestine when, in second decade of 20th century, Yemenite Jews were assigned by Zionist leadership a secondary role in the construction of the Zionist project. ►Focusing on the 20th and 21st centuries, the course will examine the immigration waves to the US and to Israel, including pre-state Palestine. The following topics will be examined: the main waves of immigrants, the changing construction of racial hierarchies and social stratification, the patterns of absorption, and the privileged status granted to western Europeans in the US and to Ashkenazi immigrants in the pre-sate years and in Israel. Throughout the discussions, attention will be paid to the ethno-national character of Israeli nation, and its comparison to the “universal,” or, pluralist character of the US. ►Under the impact of the Civil Rights revolution, the two last decades of the 20th century witnessed in both US and Israel the incorporation of the diverse populations under the umbrella of multiculturalism -- a principle that recognizes and celebrates the cultural uniqueness of ethnicities and races. Significantly, however, contemporary views in the US of immigrants from Latin America and from Muslim nations, and of refugees and foreign workers in Israel reveal a persistent policy of inclusion and exclusion. These are compelling examples of current political debates making use of the language of nativism regarding the construction of national identities.
Kosak, Hadassa. (2019, September). HIS2913: Immigrant Nations: US and Israel, Yeshiva College.