Introduction Migration Studies

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Introduction Migration Studies

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    (1) Students are introduced to the fundamentals of migration studies (including a variety of disciplinary approaches and theoretical concepts, in particular in the fields of anthropology, economics, sociology, history and law). (2) Students are able to identify and understand key theories and analytical concepts in migration studies and their relationship to history and contemporary societies, and to apply these concepts and insights to a diverse range of qualitative data. (3) Students are able to identify and understand social, cultural and economic relations and political organization in the so-called age of migration, from 1500 until present day. (4) Students are able to reproduce, summarize, interpret and critically comment on the substance of the course subject, both orally and in written form. (5) Students are able to present a clear position and personal stance in an academic essay that is substantiated with solid arguments within debates on the topic of migration studies, based on secondary sources and by referring to one or more theoretical concepts.

    This course introduces students to the study of migration in a wide range of academic disciplines, with special emphasis on socio-economic and cultural history, social and cultural anthropology, and migration and citizenship law. It is intended to acquaint students with theoretical and methodological insights from these disciplines and to familiarize them with old and new concepts in the broad and interdisciplinary field of migration studies. In this course, students focus on the agents of migration, the migrants themselves, as well as the international state and non-state actors and networks that are involved with and also impact the daily lives and activities of these agents of migration. Why do people migrate across borders? What are the different forms of migration and how do specific migration patterns come into being? And when and why do states aim at structuring migration? The course is divided into two sections. During the first three weeks, students tackle basic concepts and theories, such as the push-pull model, structural migration theory, transnationalism, and the concept of diaspora. They also study the global history of migration from 1500 onwards, gaining insight into colonial and postcolonial migration patterns, and the ways in these may or may not continue to influence contemporary migrations. Lastly, students look at the ways in which societies organize and respond to immigration and emigration. In this first part of the course, students not only focus on European history and society, but also gain insight into African, Asian and American migrations. These three weeks assist students in understanding and framing historical and contemporary migration processes and diverse migrant experiences.

    The second part of the course departs from a case-study perspective. It does by offering in-depth views into the research of experienced migration scholars in the fields of migration and citizenship law, the anthropology of migration and identity, and socio-economic migration history. Each week, you will learn about a different topic of research into Asian, Middle Eastern and North African, and European migrations, and the different methods and concepts involved and used in each case. Each guest lecturer will tell you about her or his own experience as a migration researcher. During the seminars, students experiment with the different sources and methods from each discipline. The second part will henceforth prepare you for the experience of conducting your own independent research project.

    Lectures, seminars.

    Personal essay, written exam.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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