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Join us for a screening of Fast Food Nation on April 30 at 6pm in Francis Scott Key Hall, Room 0106!

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.

The Center will provide a distinctive institutional home for interdisciplinary and trans-national research, for training faculty and students, and for distributing information about the history of the immigrant experience to a broad public.

If you are interested in the study, the teaching, and the politics of the long history of immigration from a global perspective and want to learn more about The Center for the History of the New America at the University of Maryland you are in the right place!



This spring, 2014, the Center continues the brown-bag series we began last fall on topics related to immigration and the immigrant experience. The first is scheduled for February 11th and the second for February 24th (see below). We hope to offer at least one in April as well.

Upcoming Discussions

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

February 24, 2014
12-1:00pm
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 newamerica@umd.edu.


Previous discussions

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

February 11, 2014
12-1:00pm
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.


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

November 18, 2013
12-1:00pm
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
12-1:30pm
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  •  newamerica@umd.edu

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