Fall 2023 Human Rights UN3934 section 001

Seeking Sanctuary in New York City

Seeking Sanctuary in New

Call Number 00821
Day & Time
WF 10:10am-12:00pm
Points 5
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required Instructor
Instructor Amelia Frank-Vitale
Course Description

In a renewed age of anti-immigrant fervor, the last few years have seen attention focused on people seeking asylum – the process under international law by which people fleeing persecution can seek protection in a country not of their citizenship. New York has become a particular flashpoint with a large influx of asylum seekers, most of them from Latin America. Often, they have arrived on buses sent here by southern governors intending to make the border “problem” that of a so-called “sanctuary city.” How has New York responded? And how does this fit into the city’s long history of refuge? 

This course will offer students an introduction to the theory, ethics, and history of the idea of international protection. We will look specifically at how Latin American citizens have engaged with the US asylum system over time and how this engagement has changed the shape of US immigration laws. We will study the origins of the ideas of international protection, who is understood to qualify and why, how the system has changed over time, and what these developments mean for a broader understanding of human rights across borders. We will also take a critical look at asylum, examine ideas of deservingness and innocence and their intersection with categories of race, class and gender, and question what it means for certain people to be constructed as victims and others to be seen as not eligible – or worthy – of protection.

This is an engaged pedagogy course. The class will be organized around a close collaboration with a NY legal organization that has taken on the work of representing many asylum seekers in the city. Students will learn the complexities of US asylum law and will work collectively to use this knowledge, while developing their research skills, to put together reports to be used in active asylum cases. 

Web Site Vergil
Department Human Rights (HRTB)
Enrollment 22 students (23 max) as of 5:05PM Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Subject Human Rights
Number UN3934
Section 001
Division Barnard College
Note Apply here: https://forms.gle/ajCo4EY8UhPzibqj8
Section key 20233HRTS3934V001