Department of
Political Science



101 Gowen Hall, Box 353530
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195-3530
Ph: 206-616-3584

POL S 398 Honors Seminar: Politics of Immigration in the U.S.

Tuesday & Thursday, 1:30 pm - 3:20 pm, Smith Hall 111

Professor: Matt A. Barreto
Office: Gowen 139
Office Hours: T/TH 10:30 – 12:00

Course Description:

This class will examine the history and contemporary role of immigration in the U.S. political system. The class will focus on two aspects of immigration: First, a historical examination of immigration policy from the founding of the country all the way forward to the current debate over immigration reform. Second, we will evaluate and assess the political incorporation and political participation of immigrant groups in the U.S. and determine whether immigrants are being incorporated, and if not, why? We will reflect on many important questions including the costs and benefits of immigration, issues related to civil rights and civil liberties, and finally propose our own ideas and solutions to the current immigration reform debate. Each week we will take on a new topic and students will take turns presenting, or reacting to the weekly readings. At the end of the quarter, a research paper is due, or well-developed proposal for your honors thesis, depending on your own research interests, and how closely they relate to this specific class. You will also be required to make a presentation to the class on your final paper topic or proposal.


Each week there will be required readings from one or more of these books. Readings should be done for the day they are assigned. For some weeks, the required readings are posted online. The complete, week-by-week reading list is posted on this website.

  • Roger Daniels. 2002. Coming to America. 2nd Ed. Harper
  • Roger Daniels. 2004. Guarding the Golden Door. Hill and Wang Publishers.
  • Rogers Smith. 1999. Civic Ideals. Yale University Press
  • Karthick Ramakrishnan. 2005. Democracy in Immigrant America. Stanford Univ Press.
  • Janelle Wong. 2006. Democracy’s Promise. University of Michigan Press.

    Each class session we will have one official reviewer and one official discussant. Everybody will probably get two chances to do each task. The job of the reviewer is to provide an in-depth summary of the readings for that session to get the discussion started. The job of the discussant is to fill in any gaps, but more so, to provide a reaction to the readings, what was good, what was bad, what was missing? Following this introduction we will have an open discussion, seminar style of the assigned materials.


    Short paper (5 pages)			15 points
    Research Presentation			20 points
    Midterm Exam				25 points
    Final Exam (15 pages)			40 points
    TOTAL					100 points

    GPA Point Scale

    Extra Credit:

    Throughout the quarter, there will be opportunities to attend various events, talks, and symposiums on campus that are related to immigration politics which will count for small, but important, extra credit points.

    Important Dates: (subject to change)

    September 27, 2007 (TODAY)		First Day of Class
    October 25, 2007			Short paper 1 due by 9:00 a.m.
    November 8, 2007			Midterm Exam (9:00 – 10:20 a.m.)
    November 21, 2007			Must find advisor for honors thesis
    November 22, 2007			THANKSGIVING – NO CLASS
    December 4 – 6, 2007			Research presentations in class
    December 14, 2007			Final Exam (2:30 p.m. –  4:20 p.m.)