A Migrant Metropolis: History of Immigration, Race and Space in Southern California - Course is closed

Department: Sociology

Instructor: Troy Kokinis and Jael Vizcarra
Instructor's Email: tkokinis@ucsd.edu; jael.vizcarra@protonmail.com 
Prerequisites: none 

Course Description

In this course we will think about the historical forces that have shaped cities in Southern California. We will pay special attention to the ways immigration, race, and urban space constitute each other by examining Spanish colonization of the Southwest in the 17th century. Settler-colonial ideologies and practices have influenced the organization of race and urban space immensely. We will trace settler-colonial legacies and their influence in the production of cities. Additionally, we will use this knowledge to think about the structures that organize our own life in the city.

We will focus primarily on urban growth in Southern California upon Mexican Annexation in 1848. We look at official and unofficial state policies that have shaped urban racial divisions and inequities. By exploring how industry, real estate, and the state have consistently collaborated to displace and/or exclude non-white groups, we will come to see how this pattern continues into the twenty-first century. 

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

  • Assignments: Students will write three reflections (2 pages each) based on course content from each week which will include cultural texts and reading material presented to the students by the instructors. Reflections will put the readings in conversation with one another and will be used to analyze the cultural texts provided to them.
  • Final: Students will produce a final group project on a theme of their choosing exploring the importance of race, immigration, and space. The final project will be presented on the last day of class.


Topical Outline

  • Settler Colonialism and Ideologies of the Urban
  • Indian Removal, Migrant Labor, and Slavery
  • City Beautiful Movement: San Diego
  • Jim Crow Laws, Segregation, and White Supremacy
  • White Flight, Housing, and Popular Culture (Film Noir, Disneyland, the Los Angeles Dodgers)
  • Infrastructure
  • Multiculturalism, Post-Raciality, and Gentrification
  • Post-Modern Urban Dystopia, Racialized Suburbs
  • The Metropolis and Me


*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students.


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