Please join us on Thursday, December 12th at 7pm in Room 0106 of Francis Scott Key Hall for a screening and discussion of Alex Rivera's film "Sleep Dealer," the last in our Immigration in Film Series for this semester.
The Center for the History of the New America aims to make the University of Maryland the hub for understanding the long immigration history of this country, from 1500 to the present, and its connections to world history.
Brown-bag Discussion Series
This fall, 2013, the Center inaugurated our new brown-bag series with two successful discussions with faculty on topics related to immigration and the immigrant experience (below). More will be coming in spring 2014!
Circulation of Knowledge on Immigrant Issues:
November 18, 2013
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:
October 7, 2013
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