Past Discussions

Spring 2017

Global Refugee Migration and Hidden Post-Conflict Refugee Education in Malaysia

February 9, 2017
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Colleen R. O'Neal is an assistant professor of School Psychology in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park (Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education). Her primary research goals are to identify risk and resilience processes among ethnic minority immigrant and refugee students, with a focus on emotions, stress, and achievement. Dr. O'Neal earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University in 2000 with NIMH predoctoral fellowship support, studying emotions among minority youth facing community violence. She then completed an NIMH postdoctorate in Mental Health Statistics at NYU. She received her B.A. in Psychology at Cornell University and her M.S. in Child and Family Studies at Auburn University.

Fall 2016

Sanctuary and Asylum, Then and Now

September 29, 2016
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Linda Rabben is an author, human rights activist and associate research professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland. She did field research in Brazil over a 25-year period and worked for Amnesty International, the Rainforest Foundation, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and other NGOs on human rights, migration, environmental and international development issues. Her eighth book, Sanctuary and Asylum: A Social and Political History, will be published by University of Washington Press in September 2016. She has spoken about migration issues to diverse audiences in the US and UK.

Spring 2016

Émigré Female Performers and the Aesthetics of Corporeal Modernity on Early Twentieth-Century Iranian Stage

March 8, 2016
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Ida Meftahi currently holds a Visiting Assistant Professorship in contemporary Iranian culture and society at the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies, University of Maryland. She completed her doctoral studies at the University of Toronto’s Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Pennsylvania State University. Her first book, Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage is scheduled for release in Spring 2016 (Routledge Iranian Studies Series). Offering a novel approach to corporeality in twentieth-century Iran, Dr. Meftahi’s historical research intersects with studies of gender, urbanism, performance, cinema, and political economy of public entertainment. In addition to teaching interdisciplinary courses on Modern Iran, she is the director of the Lalehzar Digital Project, a component of the Roshan Initiative for Digital Humanities, as well as faculty advisor for Roshangar: Roshan Undergraduate Journal for Persian Studies.

Fall 2015

Integrating Brazil into Latin America: Intellectual Exchanges and Dialogues
Integrating Brazil into Latin America
October 28, 2015
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Thayse Leal Lima earned her PhD in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies from Brown University in 2014. Her areas of specialization include nineteenth century to contemporary Brazilian literature and culture, Modern Latin American literature and intellectual history, transnationalism and international literary circulation. She is currently working on a book project that traces the dialogues between Hispanic American and Brazilian cultural and literary critics during the second half of the twentieth century, focusing on their efforts to integrate the two distinct literary traditions of Latin America. Her research demonstrates that these dialogues opened new routes of intellectual exchange and literary circulation and challenged essentializing constructions of Hispanism and Brazilianism. Bringing forth new archival material that documents the infrastructure of transnational exchanges, she argues that the drive toward a continental paradigm goes beyond the ideological discourse of Latin American solidarity, relating also to politics of literary promotion, recognition and internationalization.

From Zacatecas to California to Arkansas: Social Networks, Multi-Site Migration, and the Poultry Industry
From Zacatecas to California to Arkansas
November 19, 2015
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

This talk by Perla Guerrero explores the factors that led Mexicans from the state of Zacatecas to immigrate to California in search of a better life and their subsequent migration to Arkansas. Following patterns established through the Bracero Program, Zacatecanos left their hometowns to go al norte in search of opportunities in the Golden State only to eventually lose their stable and relatively well-paying jobs in the 1990s recession. Soon, however, their immigrant social networks began reporting that Arkansas had plenty of jobs in polleras, as Latinas/os call the poultry factory, as well as had a low cost of living. The poultry industry, central to Arkansas’ political economy for decades, was looking for a more exploitable work force and by 2005 Latinas/os constituted a major percentage of the its work force. In some plants in Northwest Arkansas their numbers reached into the seventieth percentile, while Arkansas’s Latina/o population more than quadrupled in one decade. The poultry industry diversified Arkansas more in two decades than any other endeavor with consequences that will reverberate through the rest of the century.

Spring 2015

Slavery in the Twenty-First Century: Combatting Human Trafficking

April 21, 2015
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Prof. Christine White, from UMD's Department of Criminology, will present on different forms of human trafficking, as well as international and domestic trends and practices. After graduating from law school in 2000 and moving to Prince George’s County, Prof. White has committed her energies towards educating college students and members of the public. More recently, she has begun teaching a course on Human Trafficking and is currently the chair of the Research Committee for the Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Task Force. Prof. White also serves on the board of Restoration Project International, a non-profit organization charged with the goal of providing education and economic independence to survivors of sex-trafficking; and works with the Howard University Bar Project to mentor law school graduates.

Fall 2014

Too Bad I’m Not an Obvious Citizen: The Effects of Racialized US Immigration Enforcement Practices on Second-Generation Mexican Youth

October 8, 2014
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Dr. Christina Getrich, from UMD's Department of Anthropology, will present research on the effects of mistreatment by immigration officials on second-generation Mexian youth. Drawing from extensive fieldwork conducted with 54 teenagers in San Diego, this presentation will address how immigration enforcement practices reinforce a racialized form of belonging that has negative effects on youth, but also highlights how these youth deploy strategies of resistance to contest them. Dr. Getrich's academic work focuses on the health and well-being of Latino immigrant families and their incorporation into U.S. society.

Spring 2014

Alternative Incorporation Strategies of Foreign-Born Faculty in U.S. Academia: Unifying Social, Cultural, and Professional Dimensions

April 28, 2014
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Amy Carattini, Ph.D. candidate in sociocultural anthropology, will present research on immigrants in the middle-class sector of the economy that indicates that the assumed distinction between immigrant groups and the national majority is not accurate. Preliminary findings from interviews with 48 foreign-born professors suggest that these immigrants often describe who they are and what they do in relation to their occupation rather than their nation states of origin and/or destination.


Im/migrant Health during Anti-Immigrant Times: Using Ethnography to Document Experiences of Mobile Populations in the US Southeast

February 24, 2014
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Thurka Sangaramoorthy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, will discuss using rapid and traditional ethnographic methods to document the complex relations between unauthorized migrant labor, mobility, and structural and social vulnerability, and in particular, the experiences of im/migrant populations in HIV/AIDS public health prevention efforts. Using ethnographic research conducted with health and social service providers working with Latino migrant workers and sex workers in rural North Carolina and with Haitians and HIV/AIDS experts in Miami, the talk will highlight the diversity of im/migrant experiences in HIV/AIDS prevention and document the health needs of mobile populations more broadly. Findings will be used to discuss practical implications for HIV/STD prevention, including calling on public health institutions and practitioners to incorporate the concept of mobility as an organizing principle for the delivery of health care services.

Im/migrant Health during Anti-Immigrant Times: Using Ethnography to Document Experiences of Mobile Populations in the US Southeast

February 11, 2014
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Willow Lung-Amam, Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, will discuss her work on the "new white flight":

In 2005, a Wall Street Journal article entitled "The New White Flight" rocked the Silicon Valley suburb of Cupertino, California. The article argued that whites were leaving Asian-dominated Cupertino schools that they perceived to be too competitive and narrowly focused on academics, especially math and science at the expense of the liberal arts. Since its publication, scholars have remained strangely silent on the issue. In a case study of Mission San Jose High in the Silicon Valley suburb of Fremont, Lung-Amam finds significant evidence for the "new white flight" thesis, its causes, and effects on neighborhood race relations and school policy. This case challenges the way that scholars have typically approached issues of race and segregation in schools from the perspective of black/white, urban/suburban divide and instead shows how the politics of race and education are shifting in the face of increasing diversity and immigration in contemporary suburbia. It underscores the pressing the need for discourses about equity in schools to go beyond questions of access and integration to white suburban schools, to include critical questions about different educational values and ideals, the shifting meaning, forms, and geographies of racialized privilege, and the presumed value of racially "balanced" suburban schools.

Fall 2013

Circulation of Knowledge on Immigrant Issues: A Case from Prince George's County

November 18, 2013
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Judith Freidenberg, Professor of Anthropology and a member of the Center's advisory board, will discuss her work in doing oral histories with immigrants in Prince George's County.

Knowledge about immigration tends to be compartmentalized, with conflicting information provided to the public by government documents, the media, think tanks, and community organizations. Left out of the production of knowledge is the voices of the immigrants themselves. Based on research funded by a seed grant and in collaboration with the Smithsonian and the Center for the History of the New America, two courses were taught on the topic of immigration. From these courses, 16 video life history interviews were collected with immigrants in Prince George’s County, Maryland and edited into three thematic short videos (education, identity, and connections). These videos were shown and discussed in several venues for two purposes: 1) to disseminate these silenced voices and 2) to stimulate public dialogue both on the life circumstances of immigrants as well as on the policies and politics of contemporary immigration. The three short videos described above will help us engage in dialogue on how immigrant voices add to the production and circulation of knowledge about immigration.

Asian American Women Playwrights and the Dilemma of the Identity Play: Staging Heterotopic Subjectivities

October 7, 2013
2120 Francis Scott Key, Merrill Room

Esther Kim Lee, Associate Professor in the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and a member of our advisory board, will be our initial presenter, giving a talk on Asian American women playwrights, focusing on three case studies and the role of identity.

Since the early 1990s, the number of Asian American women playwrights has grown significantly. Their plays have been produced at regional theatres in the U.S., and many have received top playwriting awards. At the same time, the range of topics and dramaturgical styles has widened, and recent plays by Asian American women playwrights defy conventional categorizations of race and gender. However, almost all Asian American women playwrights have expressed the need to write what can best be called the identity play. Whether the need is rooted in reasons driven by the economic market of American theatre or it is because the writers have personal agendas, each writer has written at least one identity play. For minority writers, getting recognition for writing on topics not specific to their race, ethnicity, or gender has been read as a sign of success and acceptance, yet they have all felt compelled to write plays based on their lives and experience. The talk will examine three case studies—Julia Cho’s 99 Histories, Diana Son’s Satellites, and Young Jean Lee’s Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven—in order to articulate how each playwright writes about her identity as both an Asian American and a woman while at the same time rejecting the limitations and expectations of that identity.

Center for Global Migration Studies

2133 Francis Sott Key Hall
4280 Chapel Lane
College Park, MD 20742

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