Migration and Diaspora Studies offers an interdisciplinary program drawing on social science and humanities approaches to the study of the movement and transnational settlement of people.

Migration involves the movement of people across borders. Migration is a key aspect of human history and is informed by larger global economic, political, and social forces. Migration Studies draws on social science approaches such as sociology, political science, history, economics, law, and international affairs.

Diaspora is a term used to describe the dispersion of populations across borders and the construction of an identity as a distinct community, in many cases invoking connections to a real or imagined homeland. While diasporas have existed throughout history, in our globalized age, the phenomena of communities that maintain transnational connections has become more prevalent. Diaspora Studies is an interdisciplinary field in the humanities and social sciences, including cultural anthropology, literature, music, art history, cultural studies, sociology, history, and film studies.

Migration and Diaspora Studies brings these different but interrelated approaches to the study of migration and diaspora into dialogue with each other. The program allows you to study a variety of topics involving the social, cultural, economic, and political dimensions of the movement and transnational settlement of peoples. Migration and Diaspora Studies fosters an engaged community of academics, students, and practitioners to explore these issues.

What Questions will you study in Migration and Diaspora Studies?

The Global — How did earlier waves of global networks and colonialism structure migration patterns? What role does migration play in our globalized economy today? What are the global implications of migration? Why are discussions of migration around the globe becoming increasingly politicized?

The National and International — How does the international system of nation-states and international organizations steer migration and create categories of migrants (“the refugee” or “guestworker” for example)? What legal obligations do countries have towards migrants? What rights do migrants have under international law? How do receiving states’ citizenship and immigration policies manage migration? What economic, political, and social factors in sending countries precipitate migration? Why do political movements and actors use “the migrant” as an “other” against which the nation is defined?

The Transnational

How do migrants, as transnationals,  experience the process of migrating across borders? In what ways do migrants maintain connections with communities in their country of origin? How do migrants build new solidarities in receiving countries?  How do migrant stories inform art, literature, and culture? What can we learn from listening to migrants’ stories? How might they challenge some of the assumptions that politicians and policy makers have about migrants?