Accessibility statement

Second-Class Citizens: Migration in Modern Europe - HIS00119H

« Back to module search

  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Venus Bivar
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

The current refugee crisis in Europe has prompted renewed debates on citizenship, multiculturalism, and immigration policy. This course seeks to draw upon primary and secondary historical sources to contextualize these debates within the longer trajectory of European immigration. Focusing in particular on France, Germany, and Britain, this course will examine successive immigration policies and nationality laws from the nineteenth century to the present. The structure of the course is both chronological and thematic. We will address the major periods of migration and immigration: e.g. the massive out-migration of the mid-nineteenth century; internal migration during and after the two World Wars; in-migration following the decolonization of the British and French empires. We will also explore the political, economic, and cultural aspects of immigration: e.g. migration as the search for work; the limits of inclusion and national belonging; religious difference; racism and the rise a radical xenophobic right.

In terms of the primary source materials students will study, the first-hand accounts of migrants and refugees will be of particular importance, from letters written home to published memoirs (either in English or in translation). We will also examine a range of other primary materials, including legislation, state decrees, novels, film and news media. Questions that we will address with these materials include: How do human rights apply to the plight of refugees? How is migration in Europe related to histories of colonialism, the context of globalization, the process of European unification? How do race, gender, religion and class intersect in the experience of migration? What is the relation between immigration and ethnic residential segregation, spatial exclusion, and ghetto formation?

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2020-21 to Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

  • To introduce students to in depth study of a specific historical topic using primary and secondary material;
  • To enable students to explore the topic through discussion and writing; and
  • To enable students to evaluate and analyse primary sources.

Module learning outcomes

Students who complete this module successfully will:

  • Grasp key themes, issues and debates relevant to the topic being studied;
  • Have acquired knowledge and understanding about that topic;
  • Be able to comment on and analyse original sources;
  • Be able to relate the primary and secondary material to one another; and
  • Have acquired skills and confidence in close reading and discussion of texts and debates.

Module content

Students will attend a 1-hour briefing in week 1 of the autumn term, and a 3-hour seminar in weeks 2-5 and 7-9 of the autumn term and weeks 2-5 and 7-10 of the spring term. Both the autumn and spring terms include a reading week for final year students and so there will be no teaching in week 6. Students prepare for and participate in fifteen three-hour seminars. One-to-one meetings will also be held to discuss the assessed essay.

Seminar topics are subject to variation, but are likely to include the following:

  1. Borders and the Rise of the Nation State
  2. The Irish and Internal Migration       
  3. The Great Departure and European Out-Migration
  4. Jewish Refugees Flee Russia              
  5. Regulating Immigration
  6. The Armenian Genocide                     
  7. The Holocaust       
  8. East Moves West 
  9. Turkish Guest Workers in Germany
  10. North Africans in France      
  11. Postcolonial Britain
  12. Memoir as History
  13. The Roma and Sinti
  14. Gender and the Politics of the Veil                  
  15. The Syrian Refugee Crisis


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 4,000 words
N/A 50
Online Exam 24 hrs
Second-Class Citizens: Migration in Modern Europe
N/A 50

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

For formative assessment, students will be given the opportunity to do practice gobbets and then required to write a 2,000-word procedural essay relating to the themes and issues of the module in either the autumn or spring term.

For summative assessment, students complete a 4,000-word essay which utilises an analysis of primary source materials to explore a theme or topic relating to the module, due in week 5 of the summer term.

They then take a three-hour closed examination for summative assessment in the summer term assessment period comprising: one essay question relating to themes and issues, but showing an awareness of the pertinent sources that underpin these AND one ‘gobbet’ question (where students attempt two gobbets from a slate of eight).

The essay and exam are weighted equally at 50% each.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay 4,000 words
N/A 50
Online Exam 24 hrs
Second-Class Citizens: Migration in Modern Europe
N/A 50

Module feedback

Following their formative assessment task, students will receive written feedback that will include comments and a mark within 10 working days of submission.

Work will be returned to students in their seminars and may be supplemented by the tutor giving some oral feedback to the whole group. All students are encouraged, if they wish, to discuss the feedback on their procedural work during their tutor’s student hours. For more information, see the Statement on Feedback.

For the summative assessment task, students will receive their provisional mark and written feedback within 20 working days of the submission deadline unless submitted in week 5 of the summer term, in which case these are available within 25 working days. The tutor will then be available during student hours for follow-up guidance if required. For more information, see the Statement of Assessment.

Indicative reading

For term time reading, please refer to the module VLE site. Before the course starts, we encourage you to look at the following items of preliminary reading:

Rita Chin. The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe: A History. Princeton University Press, 2017.

Mary Dewhurst Lewis. The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France, 1918-1940. Stanford University Press, 2004.

Tara Zahra. The Great Departure: Mass Migration from Eastern Europe and the Making of the Free World. W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.