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A Historical Perspective on Migration Issues


Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places available for regular students.


Current issues on migration and integration can only be understood from a historical perspective. This course provides a thorough inside from a multitude of directions.

At a market in Athens (Greece) men from Africa sell rip-off designer bags (see picture). The police chase them off halfheartedly and sellers and buyers (many of them tourists) are back in business half an hour later. Are the sellers economic migrants or refugees, or both? Are Greek authorities failing to exercise migration control, or is the EU unable to control Greece? To which extent is this example a story about control, categorization, globalization, class, ethnicity, and gender? How new are these issues?

Current debates on migration can only be understood with proper knowledge of past migrations, and policies on migration can only be developed after an evaluation of past policies. This honours class does precisely that. The course starts with a series of introductory lectures by Prof. dr. Marlou Schrover. These will provide basic knowledge and will introduce key concepts. After that there will be key speakers from different disciplines.

There will be an excursion in the first part of this course. The course will be concluded with a student conference (whole day) at which students will present papers.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:

  • have a thorough understanding of societal and political debates about migration;

  • are able to put debates into a historical context;

  • understand how this knowledge can be applied to policies;

  • Present their findings, based on research, to varied types of audiences.


This class will take place on the following dates from 15:00-17:00 hours:

7, 14, 21, 28, February 2017
21 and 28 March 2017
11 and 18 April 2017
On this last day, April 18th, there will be a student conference from 13:00-17:00 hours.


Old Observatory, Leiden

7, 14, 21, 28, February 2017 Room C104
21 March 2017 Room C104
28 March 2017 Room C102
11 and 18 April 2017 Room C104


  • Mobility (over time and space from a broad perspective) (lecture)

  • Control: from paupers and revolutionaries to beggars and terrorist (lecture)

  • Refugees (guest lecture)

  • Free and unfree movements (including slavery) (guest lecture)

  • Colonialism and post-colonialism (lecture)

  • Excursion

  • Family (including adoption) (lecture)

  • Race and ethnicity (guest lecture)

  • Integration (lecture)

  • Student conference (half a day): all students present a paper (workshop)

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures: 10 lectures of 2 hours

  • Excursion: 1 excursion of 4 hours

  • Literature reading & practical work: around 6 hours p/week

  • Assignments & final essay: 48 hours

Assessment method

  • 40% Presentation during a student conference

  • 60% Final paper of 3000 words

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will be used in this course. Students can register for the Blackboard site two weeks prior to the start of the course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

Reading: articles that have to be downloaded by the students via the library.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday November 7th until Sunday November 20th through the Honours Academy, via this link


prof. dr. Marlou Schrover