Crossing Borders: Migration and Culture

Course Code: CULT 243

Academic Year: 2023-2024

Over 200 million people in the world today are migrants. Some have voluntarily left their countries of origin while others have been driven out by war, famine, poverty or persecution. Our city, Toronto, is considered one of the great Cities of Migration in the world. Some students will enter this class having undergone such a journey themselves, or they may know someone - a family member or friend - who has traveled vast distances to arrive here. Students' knowledge and understanding of this experience is thus an important aspect of our exploration of migration as one of the most significant political, social, economic and cultural transformations of our time. Through careful reading, informed discussion and thoughtful writing, we will draw connections between contemporary migration and global histories of trade, capitalism, slavery, colonialism, (under) development, urbanization, globalization and conflict. In order to understand migration's dramatic impact on ideas about identity, language, culture and belonging, we will focus on a varied selection of critical essays, current news items, oral histories, photographs, music, visual art, short stories, poems, documentaries and feature films as well as blogs and other forms of new media. In response, we will photograph and document our city, produce interesting critical and creative texts and collaborate closely with each other to produce new insights into 21st century migrant life.