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Foreign Bodies, Contagious Communities: Migration in the Modern World (HI3H7)

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This module explores mass migration, ideas of belonging and emerging cultures of health and welfare in the era of border control and formal citizenship -- that is, from the late nineteenth through to the twentieth-first century. It will examine the patterns, pathways and outcomes of the continuous large-scale movements of population across the globe so characteristic of the modern period. Through case studies of international, imperial and diasporic migrations, it will assess migrants’ significant and reciprocal impacts on the systems and institutions of the state, including those associated with health and welfare. Finally, we will examine the relationships and intersections between ethnicity, race and migration, and the ways in which close scrutiny of migration can generate new perspectives on gender, sexuality, dis/ability and class. This module will actively engage with present-day issues involving migration, ethnicity and health, such as responses of governments and health care providers to migration ‘crises’; and the (perceived and actual) cultural, social and epidemiological impacts of migrants on host communities and cultures, in light of historical perspective. How do we write and speak about the history of migration during a migration crisis?

In the 2023-2024 academic year, our case studies will include responses to migration in the USA, from Ellis Island to the Borderlands; emigration and immigration in the British Empire; and the experiences of African migrants in Europe and North America.


Seminars will meet on Fridays, either at 11:00-13:00 in FAB 5.52, or 14:00-16:00 in Room FAB 6.01





1. There is no final examination.

2. Students will receive a formal participation mark (10%) for their contributions to the module archive task and their contributions to discussion in class. Have a look at the Module Archive Tab to see examples of these contributions from past years.

3. Students will also complete a short 1500 word essay (10%) identifying and reflecting critically on forms and practices of publicly engaged historical research. This short essay will work as preparation for:

4. An assessed 'applied' history assignment (40%), in which students will communicate their own research to specific wider audiences via a blog, podcast, videocast, 'zine or other means. If you wonder what this would look like, you can see examples of students' work at the 'PublicHistoryMigration' tab above!

5. The final component of your mark for 2022-2023 will be a standard 3000 word essay (40%) on a topic of your choice, approved by me in advance. If you are in doubt, weekly discussion questions are a good starting point for developing your own question.

Summative Assessment Deadlines

The dates and times by which you should submit your work for assessment are set by the Department. You can see them here and the assignments will also be visible on your Tabula. Note that we are a Final Year Advanced Option 1 (Applied) module, and you should work to those deadlines. Work should be uploaded to Tabula by the date and time specified on the system and following the online instructions. Extensions to assessed work deadlines may be granted only in exceptional circumstances such as ill health and/or extreme personal issues. You can read all about the rules and procedures for requesting extensions here. I cannot directly authorise extensions myself -- but do please come and talk to me if you are experiencing difficulties. We will find a workable solution!

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Migrant Students Protest Racism

Tutor: Roberta Bivins

Office Number: FAB3.54

Office Hours:

Tuesdays: 10:00-11:00.

Fridays: 9:30-10:30.

All office hours are in person except by prior arrangement.

Book your slot

 Out of term: by appointment


American Melting Pot

Cypriot Family London

Interim Module Feedback 2018-9