Welcome to the Fall 2015 Semester!

As part of our event series related to the study of migration and immigration, the Center holds monthly brown-bag discussions. These informal presentations, related to a variety of topics on immigration, migration, and the immigrant experience, provide a space for UMD academics and scholars to present their work and engage with faculty, staff, students, and the public.

Spring 2015 Discussions

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.

Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing us at

Fall 2014 Discussions

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.

Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing us at

Spring 2014 Discussions

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

April 28, 2014
2108 Taliaferro Hall

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.

Please let us know if you plan to attend by RSVPing on Facebook or emailing us at

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 Hall (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.

Please let us know if you plan to attend by RSVPing on Facebook or emailing us at

The New White Flight: Geographies of Race and the Politics of Asian American Education in Silicon Valley Schools

February 11, 2014
2120 Francis Scott Key Hall (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 Discussions

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

November 18, 2013
2120 Francis Scott Key Hall (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 Hall (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 the History of the New America, Department of History, University of Maryland

2155 Taliaferro Hall, College Park, MD 20742  •  phone: (301) 405-4305  •  fax: (301) 314-9399  •

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