From its very foundation, the American culture has been fundamentally shaped by the arrival of immigrants who for many varied reasons decided to live and work in the United States in search of economic opportunity. This course considers the cultural, social, economic and political consequences of immigration as well as the changing patterns of immigration over the past nearly two hundred and fifty years. We will consider the shifting trends of peoples’ arrivals from Europe, Africa, South and Central Americas, and Asia, and compare and contrast their accounts of becoming “American.” We will trace the ways that many immigrants maintain ties with their original homeland or even travel back and forth between nations. Keeping in mind the changing legal contexts of immigration, we will analyze contemporary debates about who deserves citizenship and explore connections between contemporary conflicts over immigration policy and the early historical developments of the nation’s borders. The syllabus will include a manageable amount of reading from writers such as Jacob Riis, Willa Cather, Anzia Yezierska, Louis Chu, Henry Roth, Sandra Cisneros, Chang-Rae Lee, Gish Jen, Edwidge Dandicat, Frank McCourt, and Jhumpa Lahiri.