Summer 2017 - HIST 322 D100

Atlantic and Pacific Migration (4)

Class Number: 3944

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    WMC 3210, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



Topics in the history of Atlantic and Pacific migrations to the Americas with attention given to the contexts from which the migrants came, why they migrated, and how they adjusted. Examples may be taken from the United States, Canada and Latin America.


Over the course of the last few centuries, great numbers of people have crossed both the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, part of a worldwide phenomenon that has resulted in the movement of millions of people in search of labour or other opportunities in places new to them. Sometimes embraced as a symbol of all that settler nations represent and at other times characterized as a threat and subjected to harsh exclusionary measures, the men and women who crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans transformed a continent. We will analyze and compare patterns of Atlantic and Pacific migration, with a particular focus on the impact of these migrations on those areas of the Americas that now comprise Canada and the United States. In order to locate migration to North American destinations within the larger context of trans-Atlantic and Pacific migration to the Americas as a whole, we will also compare these countries to others in South America at key junctures. Questions to be explored include what were the parallels and differences in the historical conditions that provided the impetus for emigration to North America, and what was the impact of both U.S. and Canadian immigration law and policy on the shape migrant streams across both the Atlantic and the Pacific assumed over time. Other topics include forms of forced migration, return migration, the experiences of various immigrant groups in both urban and rural settings, immigrant contributions to the development of the West and their role in processes of colonization. We will also consider ways in which historical accounts of immigration have changed over time with an eye toward understanding why historians have come to challenge conventional narratives during recent decades.

This course is designed to help students develop a critical understanding of transatlantic and transpacific migration history as it relates to Canada and the United States. It is also intended to give students a broad understanding of the patterns and processes associated with migration, and to familiarize students with comparative and transnational historical methodologies. This course will also provide students with an opportunity to hone their ability to critically evaluate historical evidence and scholarly arguments, and to develop scholarly arguments of their own.

Students who do not have the necessary prerequisites may contact the instructor to ask for permission to enrol.


  • Participation 20%
  • Presentation & Response Paper 20%
  • Midterm 25%
  • Final Paper (including paper proposal and research plan) 35%



Barrington Walker, ed., The History of Immigration and Racism in Canada: Essential Readings (Canadian Scholars Press, 2008).

Akemi Kikumura, Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman (Chandler & Sharp, 1981).

Assigned articles and primary sources available through the SFU Library or Canvas.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.