This course is discontinued

NORAM4576 – An Enlightening Lens: Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

In The Uprooted (1951) Oscar Handlin claimed, "Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that the immigrants were American history." This was an overstated but natural reaction to the neglect of the role of immigration and ethnicity in American history books until that time. Today, that dimension of the nation’s history is accepted as important to understanding nearly every aspect of American society, past and present.

Immigration to the United States is today seen within the wider framework of global migration history, in a recognition that population movements to the U.S. originate in socioeconomic systems—in the structural and social conditions in both the sending countries and the U.S. Incentives to leave combined with knowledge of opportunities in America have made the U.S. historically the most popular of many nations receiving large numbers of immigrants. Finally, the U.S. is now confronting a new historic peak of immigration and is once again wondering "e pluribus unum?"—can many peoples unite in one nation? And, of course, today that also means considering how immigrants relate to long-resident minorities in the country and how these minorities’ situation is and has been affected by massive immigration.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will have:

  • learned how to survey and critically evaluate the causes of peoples' migration to America, the means by which they came, the experiences they had because they were immigrants, the responses of American society to their immigration, the ways immigrants have transformed U.S. history, and the interpretations historians have put on these processes.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to the North America Area studies Master program, LAP or other relevant Master program.


Seminar, two hours per week for 14 weeks, 28 hours in total.

In order to qualify for the exam, you must submit an essay on a chosen topic. This should be about 5–10 pages long (2300 characters per page). The teacher will give you feedback, and for the final take-home exam, you will be able to develop your topic further.

 Attendance is obligatory 11 out of 14 seminars. Additonal absences must be justified by documentation to the exam coordinator. Read more about guidelines for obligatory activities.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


The exam will consist of a 3 day take-home examination on which the course grade is based. The paper should be appr. 10 pages long (2300 characters per page).

The assignment will be published in Fronter, and must be handed in at Fronter:

Earlier given exam assignments:


Language of examination


Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

The results will be published on the Studentweb within three weeks after the exam.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Once the course requirements are fulfilled, they are valid for the two next semesters the course is taught.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2015


Spring 2015

Teaching language