Disasporas and Migrations in the Modern World

Module code: HS3694 

Module co-ordinator: Dr Katherine Foxhall

Module Outline

Experiences of free and forced migration have transformed the political, economic, social and cultural identity of modern societies around the globe. This module examines in detail why different groups of people have experienced displacement and migration and how they have derived meaning and a sense of community from these movements. It encourages students to think beyond traditional historical frameworks such as nation, colony, empire, and to consider the emergence of modern forms of citizenship, belonging and collective memory. We will explore how different disciplinary perspectives on migration history (through e.g. museums, literature, politics and public art. 


Topics covered

The course is primarily concentrated on examples from the British world since the eighteenth century. We begin on the oceans, with the slaves of the Middle Passage, before moving to the white colonizers and settlers who landed in places such as Australia and South Africa. Many migrant groups have been made up of free and forced workers including convicts and indentured labourers. We then look to a specific example: the Irish famine, and examine how this event continues to resonate in public memory. The final sessions of the module are more thematic, examining health, war and decolonization as drivers of migration. To conclude we consider the internet’s effect on migrants and their global communities in the present day.


Each week’s class will include an in-depth thematic discussion based on set readings, and source workshops. Throughout, students will be encouraged to think independently, pursue innovative ways of undertaking research, and to follow their own interests in historical place and time.


50% of this module will be assessed by coursework and this will consist of 2 assignments and the other 50% will be assessed through examination, which will be a two hour exam at the end of the course.


Patrick Manning, Migration in World History 2nd edn. (2013)

Miles Ogborn, Global Lives (2008)

Stephen Castles and Mark J. Miller, The Age of Migration (1998)

J.E. Braziel, Diaspora: an introduction (2008)

Christiane Harzig & Dirk Hoerder, What is Migration History? (2009)

Colin G. Pooley, Migrants, Emigrants and Immigrants: A Social History of Migration

Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: An Introduction (London: Routledge, 2001)