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Second-Class Citizens: Migration in Modern Europe - HIS00119H

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  • Department: History
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Venus Bivar
  • Credit value: 40 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23
    • See module specification for other years: 2021-22

Module summary

The current refugee crisis in Europe has prompted renewed debates on citizenship, multiculturalism, and immigration policy. This module seeks to draw upon primary and secondary sources to contextualise these debates within the longer trajectory of European migration. This longer history reveals that migration has been a constant in human history and that the language of “crisis” is an invention of politics.

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 decolonisation 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 of a radical xenophobic right.

Primary source materials will include: autobiography, 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, globalisation, 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 and spatial exclusion?

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

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

Teaching Programme:

Students will attend a 1-hour briefing in week 1 of the autumn term. Students prepare for and participate in fifteen three-hour seminars. These take place 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. There will also be a two hour revision session in the summer term. 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:

Autumn Term

  1. Defining Citizenship

  2. Policing Identities

  3. Borders and the Rise of the Nation State

  4. The Jewish Refugee Crisis of the 1930s

  5. Republicanism and Assimilation in France

  6. The World Wars and the Rise of Passport Control

  7. Decolonisation and Immigration

Spring Term

  1. German Unification and Nationality Law

  2. The Expulsion of Ethnic Germans from the East

  3. Turkish Guestworkers

  4. The Roma in Europe

  5. Migration in the British Empire

  6. The Windrush Generation

  7. Race and Identity

  8. Migration is Life


Task Length % of module mark
4,000 word essay
N/A 50
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open Exam - Second-Class Citizens
8 hours 50

Special assessment rules


Additional assessment information

For formative assessment, students will be given the opportunity to do two practice gobbets and then are 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 24-hour online 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
4,000 word essay
N/A 50
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Open Exam - Second-Class Citizens
8 hours 50

Module feedback

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

Work will be returned to students in their discussion groups 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 with their tutor (or module convenor) during 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. 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:

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

Kennetta Hammond Perry. London is the Place for Me: Black Britons, Citizenship, and the Politics of Race. Oxford University Press, 2015.

Reece Jones. Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move. Verso, 2016.

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.