The United States is a nation of immigrants. Yet, it is also a nation defined by the laws that it has drafted to encourage, discourage, discriminate, and in general control the influx of immigration. Starting with the naturalization act of 1790, the United States has sporadically altered its naturalization and immigration requirements in response to particular socio-economic and political conditions. Each one of these laws has produced specific, sometimes surprising, manifestations in the built environment: new urbanization patterns, communities, and architectural styles have arisen from the passage of each law. The aim of the seminar is to produce a body of research, stretching across time, that exposes these disparate, distant, but interrelated urban and architectural developments.
The course will take as a starting point the Page Act of 1875, the first federal immigration law to specifically discriminate against a particular minority, and go through up to the present to include Executive Order 13769 and any subsequent immigration policies by this new administration. Students will work individually or in small teams on a specific law and its effect on a particular subset of the built landscape. Collectively, the work will form a timeline of events, urban patterns, and architectures that reframe the effect of immigration policy on the built environment.
Weekly lectures, readings, documentaries, podcasts, etc. will help contextualize the research and provide a backdrop for each of the student projects. Each student is expected to produce a research proposal to culminate in a paper and presentation.