Spring 2021 - LBST 330 D300

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (3)

Labour Migrants in the West

Class Number: 8041

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 11 – Apr 16, 2021: Thu, 8:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 24, 2021
    Sat, 11:00–11:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Serdar Kaya
    Office Hours: Th 12:00-13:00 via Skype
  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly Recommended: LBST 101 and/or 301.



Selected topics in areas not currently offered within the undergraduate course offerings. Students may take more than one offering of LBST Selected Topics courses for credit, as long as the topic for each offering is different.


This course focuses on labour immigration into the developed world, and its ongoing consequences. In the mid-1950s, the booming post-war economies such as Austria, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Sweden experienced labour shortages, and began to recruit foreign workers. Migrant labourers thus started to arrive in Europe in large numbers. These recruitments were supposed to be a short-term solution. Therefore, those recruited were considered guest workers. However, things did not go as planned, and "guest workers" happened to spend almost two decades in their host countries. By the time they were no longer needed, many had long begun new lives, and thus were reluctant to return. Their decision to stay has dramatically changed the social and cultural landscapes of many European cities.

This course covers this story, which now extends to seven decades. The course, on the one hand, explores the long journeys of migrant workers and their descendants from the 1950s to the present day with a special focus on their efforts to protect themselves from discrimination and hate crimes, and achieve social and political equality. On the other hand, the course comparatively examines the policies of host countries on integration, rights, and citizenship.


By the end of the course, students will:

  • have gained an understanding of past and contemporary issues and challenges associated with labour migration in Europe,
  • have become more familiar with cases where permanent temporariness may last for decades,
  • have learned about the extent of cross-country policy variation in Europe on critical issues such as integration, rights, and citizenship, and
  • developed their own evidence-based study on a critical issue of labour migration in Europe.


  • Presentation 20%
  • Reflection paper 30%
  • Final exam (take-home) 30%
  • Forum participation 20%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Labour Studies Program follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



All readings will be available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or otherwise online as noted.


Bal, Charanpal Singh. (2016). Production Politics and Migrant Labour Regimes: Guest Workers in Asia and the Gulf. Palgrave MacMillan.

Gonzalez, Gilbert. (2013). Guest Workers or Colonized Labor?: Mexican Labor Migration to the United States [2nd edition]. Routledge.

Koser, Khalid. (2016). International Migration: A Very Short Introduction [2nd edition]. Oxford University Press. (available on VitalSource)
ISBN: 978-0-191068263

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).