Past Events

February 28th-March 1st, 2013

The theme of this year's Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity symposium will be on representations of migrants and migration. Who migrates and why? How are migrants perceived by others? By themselves? By the next generation? What do we know, what do we remember, and what is the collective memory/amnesia or representation, of migrants and their migration? How and why do these memories and assessments change over time? Why are some migrations contested politically while others are not and still others go unnoticed or are simply forgotten? Over two days the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity would like to invite you to participate in an interdisciplinary exploration of these and other questions. We may even uncover a few more.

Thursday, 2/28/13

North to South Migration

4:30–6:00 pm, Roundtable Panel (Axinn 229)
Presenters: Sharlene Mollet (Dartmouth College); Robert Prasch (Middlebury College); Nina Berman (Ohio State University)

When people think of migration, they tend to consider the movement of people out of the global "South"
to the "North." However, migrants have always moved the other way as well. Settler colonies come im- mediately to mind, but can this really be called a modern form of colonialism? Recently, this North-South migratory flow has revived. This panel will discuss this new migratory path, including its causes, the issues it raises for migrants, and the impact on the communities receiving them.

Paraiso for Sale by Anayansi Prado

6:30-7:45 pm, Film Screening (Axinn 232)

What price would you pay for paradise? And who would you be willing to take it from? The pristine archi- pelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama attracts retirees and developers from the U.S. with its crystal-clear waters and its island culture.

This engaging and revealing documentary tells the personal stories of the people who call this area home and would like to keep it that way. The characters and stories in Paraiso For Sale speak to the larger global issue of communities, new and old, under siege from faceless corporations.

Paraiso For Sale explores issues of modern day colonialism, residential tourism, global gentrification
and reverse migration, by revealing that immigration between Latin America and the US is not just a one- way street.

Friday 3/1/13

Refugee Migration and its Reception

11-12:30 pm: Workshop (Axinn 229)
Judy Scott (Director for the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program)

Roundtable Panel

2-3:30 pm: (Robert A. Jones Conference Room)
Presenters: Judy Scott (Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program), Uditi Sen (Hampshire College), Gregory White (Smith College)

Historically, refugees are the subset of migrants that have posed, and faced, the greatest challenges. By contrast to migrants seeking economic opportunity, an education, or other perceived benefit, refugees are reluctant migrants—they move because they were forced out of their homes and homelands, not because they were drawn elsewhere. Moreover, refugees tend to move en masse and host nations are often unprepared, economically and socially, to receive a large influx of persons, many of whom are in need of extensive assistance. Unsurprisingly, refugees are faced, in their new "homes," with acute political controversy and assimilation challenges.

Keynote Address: The Making of an Immigrant

4 pm: (Robert A. Jones Conference Room)
Dinaw Mengestu (Author and Lannan Chair of Poetics, Georgetown University)

In a conversation with Alan Warner, the Scottish novelist, he noted that one of the great inventions in modern language was the construction of the term, expatriate. The citizens of the privileged, western world have by in large found a way of isolating themselves from the more problematic terminology of migration—immigrant, migrant, refugee—with this insulating term. Underlying Warner's point is a more pernicious problem. The vocabulary of migration reflects our prej- udices, biases, and fears. As an African coming to America, I enter as a refugee and slowly evolve into an immigrant,

a label that is all but indelible and is attached not only to my identity, but my work as a novelist as well. As an African American immigrant living in Paris, I am an American expatriate with African roots—the word migrant, or immigrant never enters the picture. The distinction is not only political, but economic as well. Over the course of the lecture, I will discuss what I believe the implications of those distinctions are in our reading and construction of immigrant narratives.


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