Syllabus Collection

Course Title: Immigration and Conflict (syllabus and online reader)

Professor: Jeffrey Pugh, Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution, University of Massachusetts-Boston, [email protected]

Target Audience: graduate students, faculty, undergraduates, the public

Themes: immigration, conflict, conflict resolution, prejudice, structural violence, dialogue, integration, culture

Course Description:

Do you want to understand the deeper roots of conflict between immigrants and their host communities? Wish you could go beyond the polarized ideological camps’ framing of the immigration debate as only having two sides? Interested in research-based approaches to addressing immigration-related conflict constructively and working toward social justice and peaceful coexistence? You can use this graduate-level Immigration & Conflict syllabus as a starting point for self-study, or pick and choose topics to inform related research questions, activism, or course design. The interdisciplinary readings draw heavily on political science, sociology, and psychology, as well as other fields. They have been curated with the goal of bringing together some of the best scholarship on addressing conflict between immigrants/refugees and their host societies, offering a mix of theoretical/conceptual, empirical, and popular/policy-relevant work. At a time when a travel ban proposes to block refugees and other migrants from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, Europe’s reception of a large number of displaced persons fleeing the Middle East has sparked both nationalist campaigns and Refugees Welcome movements, and violence in Central America has pushed many unaccompanied children to flee toward what they hope is safety in other countries, migration-related conflict (and possibilities for peaceful coexistence) dominate the news headlines. In the wake of the incident in Charlottesville, this syllabus represents an attempt to bring a deeper understanding of the causes of such conflict, and research-based strategies for peace-building in migrant-receiving communities and countries.

Impact: A class based on this syllabus was taught with a group of students evenly split between immigrants and U.S. citizens at UMass Boston, during the contentious U.S. campaign in 2016, and it provided a platform for dialogue among the students, and several articles written in class were later published for a broad audience. The public/online syllabus has been shared widely, and has supplemented trainings for Amnesty International activists, university students, and refugees. 

Course Title: Interrogating Global White Supremacy

Professor: Rose Ernst, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science, Seattle University. Email: [email protected]

Target Audience: Undergraduates

Themes: Dismantling White Supremacy

Course Description: This is a syllabus for an upper-division core curriculum global social science course at a predominately white institution. The majority of the undergraduates in this course are majoring in science disciplines.

Impact: Course evaluations reveal that this course was the first time the majority of these students ever talked about racism, let alone race in the college classroom -- and a great deal of these students were preparing to graduate. 

Course Title: Social Movements in the US

Professor: Rose Ernst, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science, Seattle University. Email: [email protected]

Target Audience: Undergraduates

Theme: Social Movement

Course Description: This is a syllabus for an upper-division political science course at a predominately white and small liberal arts institution. It attracts a wide variety of majors.

Impact:  I taught this course beginning in January 2017 amidst high levels of shock, fear and confusion amongst my students. They reported that this course provided them concrete historical and contemporary examples of struggles against the practices of systemic and institutional domination. 


Course Title: Urban Spaces and the Public Sphere: Democracy, Design, and Law   


Professor: Anthony Maniscalco, Director and Professor, CUNY/Hunter College,  [email protected]    

Target Audience: Graduate students; advanced undergraduates 

Themes: Public Space; political activism

Course syllabus This course has encouraged students in politics, geography, and urban planning/policy to reflect on the value of public space in catalyzing political activism by groups and individuals.


Course Title: Understanding the 2016 Election

Professor: Julie Novkov, Professor, University at Albany, SUNY,  [email protected]

Themes: election of 2016, populism, race, gender, immigration

Resource Description:This course will engage students in a critical consideration of the election of 2016 and the presidency of Donald Trump. Using the tools and concepts of political science, we will explore together three big questions: 1) What factors contributed to the electoral outcomes on November 8, 2016? 2) How are major policy issues likely to play out in the Trump administration? and 3) Where do we go from here in terms of federalism, dissent, and the changes that the election will create? The focus of the course will be on the election and the Trump presidency, but it will also incorporate learning about how political science considers politics across several dimensions and issue areas. Several different members of the Political Science Department will contribute lectures. Students who voted for any candidate at all – or for no candidate – are welcomed and encouraged to enroll, and some class sessions will require you to work together with people who made different choices than you did in the election. The classroom will be a space for all of us to consider and grapple with the implications of this historically significant event. The most important goal of the course is for students to think about what democracy in the United States means in our time, and how we as civic participants can build and maintain democratic culture here and/or elsewhere.

Resource Impact: Around 30 students enrolled. Some did very interesting political action projects and a few are still engaging in these actions.

Course Title: Race and Ethnic Politics in the United States

Professor: Adolphus G. Belk, Jr., Winthrop University

Themes: race, ethnicity, theories of racism, pluralism, intersectionality, political behavior, institutions 

Resource Description: According to the late Dr. Linda Faye Williams, a politics centered on race has characterized the U.S. since its birth as a republic. Students enrolled in this class will develop a thorough understanding of the significance of race and ethnicity in American politics and policymaking. Rooted in theories of race, racism, and political economy, the course considers relevant historical background, the constitutional framework of American government, and the nature of interactions between whites, blacks, Latinos/as, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and Indian peoples and the main institutions of government.

Furthermore, the course focuses on the role and participation of racial and ethnic groups in American politics as well as the role of political parties, independent organizations, and social movements. In the process, students will come to understand the long struggle of excluded groups to gain full inclusion in the American political community. Lastly, the intersections of race, class, and gender are a concomitant focus of the course.

Course Impact: The syllabus laid the groundwork for the work that we did during the semester

See Also: 

The APSA Diversity Syllabi Collection (2015)

APSA Syllabi Project and APSA Syllabus Collection 

Teaching About Charlottesville: Curriculum Resources: