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HIST 3010 Immigration in the U. S. (Hahamovitch special collections): Assignment Description and Details

Paper Assignment Description and Details


Your goal here is to write a 7-10 page (1,750-2,500-word) essay (including footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography) that in some small way answers the question “how did immigrants experience Georgia?” or “how did Georgians respond to immigrants?” I say “in a small way” because trying to answer those questions for all immigrants to Georgia or for all Georgians would involve writing a multi-volume encyclopedia if it were possible at all (I doubt it). Just as you’re currently using one family’s emigration letters to discuss a tiny slice of Irish immigration history, you’re looking for a small source or set of sources that will let you get at a little slice of Georgia’s immigration history. You want to pick a tiny topic but say something really interesting about it. When we add all these papers together at the end of the semester, we’ll have learned a lot.

This will be primary research informed by secondary reading (aka history!). If you’ve never done this before, don’t panic; you’ll have help along the way. The archivists over at Special Collections, the librarians at the Main Library, and I will help you find both sorts of sources.


Thursday, September 14, 2017 SCL Room 329
We’ll start by meeting at Special Collections on Thursday, September 14th. Archivists Jill Severn and Chuck Barber will pull some examples of sources for you to look at and discuss but there are lots more there. In fact, there are multiple archives within the Special Collections building that have lots of relevant sources.

Richard B. Russell Library for Political  Research and Studies  has a huge collection of 20th century materials, especially Georgia politicians’ papers. Those will include letters from constituents, some of which will concern immigration. So, for example, you might be able to investigate how Georgians responded to the arrival of Cuban refugees in the 1980s (the so-called refugees of the “Mariel Boatlift), some of whom were detained in Georgia. There are also recorded oral interviews with immigrants in the Oral History Collection that you could use as sources. The Russell has 21 boxes of records of the Georgia Project, which was an innovative organization designed in the 1990s to smooth the integration of Latino/a children, whose parents came to work in Dalton’s carpet factories. That collection is way too big for any one of you to tackle alone but you could focus on an interesting file within the collection or tackle a chunk of it with some of your fellow students if you don’t mind working together. In fact, you could all work on that topic, if you’d like to (I recognize that some people hate group projects). Note: whether you work alone or in groups, you will each turn in an original paper.

In the same building, the  Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library will have 18th and 19th century materials (plus 200,000 books on Georgia!). Also, the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection will have some audiovisual materials that relate to immigration in Georgia and the U.S. in its WSB Newsfilm collection  and the Peabody Awards Collection

Tuesday, September 19, 2017, SCL Room 329 
On the 19th of September, we’ll go back to Special Collections t
o look for sources. After a brief overview of how to search and request from Jill and Chuck, you will have time to start searching and browsing for your own primary source materials. If you’ve already found something that interests you, you can sit and read your source or help someone else look for sources.

Thursday, September 21, 2017|
Main Library orientation 

Thursday, October 26, 2017  
Turn in a one-page prospectus including a bibliography.

Thursday, November 16, 2017  
Draft of paper due.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017  
Final paper is due.

Keep in mind that when time is of the essence, it’s usually easier to find a cool source and then figure out what to say about it, than it is to pick a topic and see what you’ll find (sometimes you find nothing). Avoid goose chases.



Paper Requirements and Deadlines


  • 7-10 page (1,750-2,500-word) essay (including footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography) 
  • It must be typed and double-spaced using a 12-point font and one-inch margins.
  • Please submit it as a Word file.
  • It must have footnote or endnotes to cite your sources and a bibliography, all in the Chicago Manual Style.
  • Your paper should also have a snappy title that captures the essence of your argument.
  • Aim for beautiful, evocative, and original writing supported by carefully analyzed evidence.
  • The final version of the paper is worth 15% of your course grade (note: you may not rewrite this assignment after this date because I have to get your grades in).


Follow Chicago Manual of Style  and refer to Russell Library Citation Guide for detailing important elements to include in a citation so that others may access the same materials you have used as evidence. 

  • Guidelines for a wide range of styles guides (Chicago,Turabian etc...) are available here. 
  • Russell Library Citation Guide is available in the Russell Research Room and by email request to