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Spring 2023

Labor, Immigration, and Reform in New York City’s History

Director:  Maurice Isserman, Professor of American History
Phone: 315-859-4414
Email:  misserma@hamilton.edu

Immigrants today account for over forty percent of New York City’s workforce. That percentage has grown in recent decades, as new waves of immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America have moved to the city. But there has never been a time in the past three centuries when immigrants were not a vital component of the city’s working class population. New York City’s history is thus intimately bound up with the history of labor and immigration, and the history of reform movements working on behalf of the immigrant working class. These movements for social and economic justice sometimes drew on inspiration from abroad but were rooted in American beliefs in equality and community. They profoundly influenced American politics and social life both inside and beyond New York City, from the 19th century down to the present. We will explore this complex, interrelated history, both in our reading assignments and discussions, and by exploring the streets and neighborhoods that witnessed and shaped three centuries of working class immigrant life.

College 395:  Film Series
College 396 Independent Study

Your 20-25 page independent study paper should consider some aspect of the history of labor, immigration, and/or reform in New York City. It can also draw upon your internship experience. The resources of the Tamiment Library at New York University and the New York Historical Society will likely be helpful to you.

College 397 Internship

Work experience with a firm, organization, agency, or advocacy group appropriate to the theme of course, four days a week. Weekly electronic journal entries chronicling and reflecting on the experience.

College 398 Seminar:  Labor, Immigration, and Reform in New York City’s History

Immigrants today account for over forty percent of New York City’s workforce. That percentage has grown in recent decades, as new waves of immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America have moved to the city. But there has never been a time in the past three centuries when immigrants were not a vital component of the city’s working class population. New York City’s history is thus intimately bound up with the history of labor and immigration, and the history of reform movements working on behalf of the immigrant working class. These movements for social and economic justice drew on inspiration from abroad, and profoundly influenced American politics and life outside New York City, from the 18th century down to the present. We will explore this complex, interrelated history, both in our reading assignments and discussions, and by exploring the streets and neighborhoods that witnessed and shaped three centuries of working class immigrant life. We begin with 18th century artisan protest, and conclude with Occupy Wall Street.

Contact

Contact Name

Karen Boots

(on behalf of Professor Katheryn Doran, General Director)

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