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10 cp from 100-level units in History


HIST329 - Diasporas and Journeys: Immigration in World History

Unit rationale, description and aim

The last two decades have seen an almost 50 per cent rise in the number of people living in countries other than their country of birth. During this time, the history of global migration has become an increasingly important area of study, as historians have sought to better understand the origins of our deeply interconnected world.

In this unit students will explore and compare patterns of global migration and the histories of immigrant peoples, especially in modern times. Case studies will be used to analyse the variety of diverse and similar patterns of migration. Students will work with different types of primary and secondary sources to investigate some of the key topics in this field, including the push/pull factors of migration, the hardships confronted, imagined communities, diasporas and the process of acculturation. Applying the methods of social and cultural historians, you will explore issues relating to historical sources and ways of interpreting life stories, and apply your own critical reading skills to construct an evidence-based historical narrative or argument.

The aim of this unit is to provide students with a framework for understanding the major shifts in global migration, and the experiences of the people involved.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Discuss theoretical and factual knowledge of migration in world history and an awareness of historical debates surrounding itGC1
LO2Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audienceGC2, GC3, GC11, GC12
LO3Locate, use and appropriately reference a variety of primary and secondary materials relevant to migration in world history to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argumentGC1, GC2, GC3, GC8, GC9, GC10
LO4Apply critical reading skills to your understanding of migration in world history and the methods that historians have used to research itGC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9
LO5Interpret and reflect on key historical debates relating to real-world situations/case studies in global migration history over timeGC1, GC2, GC7, GC11


Topics for this unit examine critical themes relating to the history of migration drawn from at least three different historical and regional contexts: 

  • Immigration: issues, themes, life stories, imagined communities, the concept of diaspora 
  • Migration patterns: commonalities and differences in the case studies 
  • Issues in contemporary world migration: refugees, ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ migration, stateless peoples, racial discrimination and violence 

Case studies may derive from the following: 

  1. Jewish Diaspora – pre-modern migration patterns and motivations; European Jewry; Jewish people in settler societies; assimilation 
  2. African and Afro-Caribbean Diaspora – slave trade; slavery; segregation; racism; Black power; Black identities in the modern world 
  3. Chinese Diaspora – pre-modern nature and Southeast Asian patterns of movement; servitude; gold rushes; racism in the West 
  4. British Diaspora – the Anglo settler revolution; imperialism, colonisation, and settlement; empire and identity; the end of empire and the changing politics of migration into Britain 
  5. Irish Diaspora – oppression under British rule; the potato famine; the journeys to settler societies; labour; religious and cultural persecution in new nations; becoming ‘white’ 
  6. Southern European Exoduses – fin de siècle emigration; patterns of return; the urban experiences; post-WWII migration patterns 
  7. Latinos in ‘El Norte’ – economic and political conditions in Latin American nations; dangerous crossings into the US; migrant work; racism and anti-immigration backlashes; the political influence of Latinos 
  8. Refugees since World War II – Vietnamese and Cambodian ‘boat people’; fleeing war; life in refugee camps; African and Middle Eastern refugees; government crackdowns on refugees 
  9. Romani Diaspora – origins; spread; assimilation; non-territory nationalism, forced sterilization; exclusion and racism. 

The unit will also cover active history theory and techniques, including advanced techniques in locating and using primary and secondary sources and historical approaches in research and analysis used by social and cultural historians. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10 credit-point unit embraces active learning through the delivery of face-to-face classes which involve activities that allow students to: 

1) gain a deeper understanding of the course content. These activities, including reading, writing, discussion and problem-solving, encourage students to analyse, synthesise and evaluate class content. A case study approach is also used, allowing students to explore the real-world applicability of what they have learnt 

2) develop and hone skills fundamental to the discipline of history Students are encouraged to develop independent skills in locating; reading and analysing sources; consider different approaches to the past and the dynamics of historical and historiographical debate, and employ active research techniques into their own research and analysis 

This unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as lectures, tutorials, reading, reflection, discussion, film screenings, skills workshops, and assignments etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks are scaffolded so that students develop historical skills and knowledge progressively. 

The knowledge development task helps to build student knowledge of the history of migration, introducing them to the key conceptual approaches which historians have used when considering this topic. It also further develops their skills in locating, analysing and synthesizing primary and secondary source materials. This task assesses learning outcomes 1 and 2. 

Students then move onto assessment 2, the research task, draws together the skills and knowledge developed in assessment 1 to bring together a sustained and nuanced evidence-based research argument relating to the shifting patterns of migration history. This task is likely to take the form of a written essay and assesses learning outcomes 1 to 4. 

Finally, the third assessment, the summative task, builds on the knowledge and techniques developed during the knowledge development task and the research task This assessment is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their theoretical and factual knowledge of migration history. 

The forms this assessment may include a quiz, journal or short essay. This task assesses learning outcomes 2 to 5. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Knowledge Development Task 

The purpose of this task is for students to develop critical reading and listening comprehension skills to identify key content and ideas from lectures and set readings.


LO1, LO2

Research Task 

This task provides a forum for students to apply knowledge and skills in the construction of an evidence-based historical written, oral or digital narrative or argument, as designated by the lecturer. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Summative Task 

This assessment is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their theoretical and factual knowledge of migration history.  


The lecturer may designate this task to be in the form of short answer responses, test/s, take-home exam, exam, reflective essay/poster, poster, or simulation. 


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Bickers, Robert (ed.) Settlers and Expatriates: Britons Over the Sea. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. 

Coleman, Daniel, Erin Goheen Glanville, Wafaa Hasan, and Agnes Kramer-Hamstra, (eds.) Countering Displacements: The Creativity and Resilience of Indigenous and Refugee-ed Peoples. Edmonton: University of Alberta, 2012. 

Ehrlich, Mark Avrum. Encyclopedia of the Jewish Diaspora: Origins, Experiences and Culture. Vol. 1. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2009. 

Garcia, Miki. Ireland's Invasion of the World: The Irish Diaspora in a Nutshell. Dublin: The History Press Ireland, 2015. 

Gomez, Michael A. Reversing Sail: A History of the African Diaspora. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 

Gonzalez, Juan. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. New York: Penguin, 2001. 

Kuah-Pearce, Khun Eng, and Andrew Davidson, eds. At Home in the Chinese Diaspora: Memories, Identities and Belongings. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2008. 

Lee, Erika. The Making of Asian America: A History, New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015. 

Manning, Patrick. Migration in World History. 2nd ed. London; New York: Routledge, 2012. 

Whittaker, David J. Asylum Seekers and Refugees in the Contemporary World. London; New York: Routledge, 2006. 

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