Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Adopted Country: Australia By Erwin Feeken



The year was 1951. At 21 years of age, I had just come out of a personal near-depression with a feeling of non-fulfilment. I was determined to leave Germany for another country for a number of reasons: The lifestyle in Germany did not suit me; my thoughts on life differed from those of most people of my age and I was looking for adventure. So I began applying for migration to various countries, including Canada, Argentina, South Africa, and Australia. Some countries offered particular job opportunities, e.g. Canada for timber cutting. It did not matter what was offered- I just wanted to leave Germany on an assisted passage.

In 1952 the Argentinean Government Consulate in Hannover, Germany, called me to have an interview and a medical examination. I passed, only to be advised a short time later that assisted passage to Argentina had been halted. Later that year I met my future wife, Gerda. We were like-minded. She had already registered for migration to the United States.

During the next 18 months Gerda and I travelled on bicycles or trains, and hitch-hiked through Italy. We became engaged on the Isle of Capri in July 1953. Soon after our return home the Australian Consulate in Bremen informed me that my application for assisted passage to Australia had been approved, subject to satisfactory medical examination and police certificate of conduct. As an afterthought the Consul advised  us to get married before leaving to avoid separation in Australia.

We had to conquer two difficult situations with our parents: We had to tell them that we wanted to get married as soon as possible, which raised eyebrows. When this piece of news was digested, we dared telling them our next plan. Gerda’s parents were shocked- she was their only child, only 21 years old. My parents had four children. While they were disappointed that we both were leaving good permanent employment in Germany, they accepted.

The consulate had indicated to us that we would hear from them within a few weeks. Several months later Gerda and I became impatient at waiting. When I contacted the consulate per telephone, an officer told me, approximately in these words:

There are two seats available on the first migrant plane, due to cancellation. It flies to Sydney in nine days’ time, and you have to tell me right now, over the phone, whether you are prepared to take these two seats and then confirm your decision in writing.”

Without asking Gerda, I agreed to the offer. When I rang her at her workplace and told her the news, she was beside herself. The rush was on.

Hectic activities included resignations from work, visits to taxation and police departments, having wooden boxes constructed for our belongings which included bicycles, books and clothing. The boxes were going to be transported by boat. Personal good byes were limited, there was not enough time.  On 23. July 1954 we walked onto the tarmac towards the silvery gleaming aeroplane, a DC6 aircraft from the Scandinavian Airline System (SAS). We both felt elated beyond belief.

There were about 60 migrants on board. An Australian immigration official, a lady who could speak German, made us feel comfortable. The airline’s program was to fly migrants to Sydney and then proceed to Saigon to pick up wounded soldiers from the Indo-China war front, and return to Europe.

The flight itself was generally pleasant, although there were some arguments and complains by over-excited passengers. We landed in seven destinations: Rome (overnight), Beirut, Karachi (overnight), Bangkok (two overnights), Jakarta, Darwin, and finally Sydney, early in the morning of 27. July 1954. A train transported us to the migrant camp of Bonegilla, on the border of New South Wales and Victoria. This place accommodated us for a month; others left earlier or later, depending on their personal requirements. The accommodation was adequate and we were given a small amount of weekly pocket money. We also had the freedom of leaving the camp on excursions in the neighbouring hills. When work and accommodation was found for us we were given train tickets to return to Sydney where my future job was waiting.  From now on there was no more personal surveillance: We made our way back to Sydney.

Camp Villawood was not to our liking. It provided full board, but under fairly primitive conditions. At first I became labourer with Sydney Metropolitan Water Board, but soon after the friendly staff who asked me about my working background, offered me a job with one of their surveyors as chainman. After six weeks in the hostel Gerda found accommodation in a house in Ryde. We were nine months in Sydney. In that time Gerda found jobs in a biscuit factory, in mirror designs, and in a imitation jewellery workshop. I switched from job to job, being builders labourer, painter and carpenter’s assistant. However, I never left without having another job  lined up.

After swapping several times during the remaining months of 1954, I began to feel guilty of having done so without informing the Immigration Department. One day I visited their office and explained my activities. I was given the assurance that my actions were legal, as long as I let the department know our whereabouts for the two years after our arrival in Australia.

I spent many hours writing applications for jobs in my expertise: Surveying and cartography. In April 1955 I was lucky to be offered a position as survey draftsman with the Hydro-Electric Commission in Hobart, Tasmania. This was the beginning of my professional career. Three months later, our first of five daughters was born.

For seven years we, as a family, moved from p[lace to place, each time improving my professional situation. In 1962 we made our final move: I joined the Bureau of Mineral Resources (now Geoscience Australia). It was to become my major career lasting 25 years, until my voluntary retirement in 1987.

Throughout my working career, we, as a family, used every opportunity to follow Australian explorer’s routes. In 1970, for Captain Cook’s bi-centenary, we published the book entitled The Discovery and Exploration of Australia. Our travels did not end there. We continued, often in the heat of summer, to check out land explorer’s routes and features, and navigator’s landfalls.

Australia in the 21st Century has changed. Over 60 odd years, the population has trebled. It has become a multicultural society. But compared with most countries, the continent is still thinly populated, due in part to its inhospitable desert regions. For people of similar interests to ours, there are still many opportunities to explore. The Australian inhabitant is very approachable, helpful, and friendly, although a little rough on the edges. Australia had become my home forever.                                                              






March 16, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

From the Bookshelves: The New Deportations Delirium Interdisciplinary Responses Edited by Daniel Kanstroom and M. Brinton Lykes


The New Deportations Delirium Interdisciplinary Responses Edited by Daniel Kanstroom and M. Brinton Lykes (NYU Press 2015)

Since 1996, when the deportation laws were hardened, millions of migrants to the U.S., including many long-term legal permanent residents with “green cards,” have experienced summary arrest, incarceration without bail, transfer to remote detention facilities, and deportation without counsel—a life-time banishment from what is, in many cases, the only country they have ever known. U.S.-based families and communities face the loss of a worker, neighbor, spouse, parent, or child. Many of the deported are “sentenced home” to a country which they only knew as an infant, whose language they do not speak, or where a family lives in extreme poverty or indebtedness for not yet being able to pay the costs of their previous migration. But what does this actually look like and what are the systems and processes and who are the people who are enforcing deportation policies and practices? The New Deportations Delirium responds to these questions.
Taken as a whole, the volume raises consciousness about the complexities of the issues and argues for the interdisciplinary dialogue and response. Over the course of the book, deportation policy is debated by lawyers, judges, social workers, researchers, and clinical and community psychologists as well as educators, researchers, and community activists. The New Deportations Delirium presents a fresh conversation and urges a holistic response to the complex realities facing not only migrants but also the wider U.S. society in which they have sought a better life.

March 16, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

From The Bookshelves: The Road to Citizenship: What Naturalization Means for Immigrants and the United States


The Road to Citizenship: What Naturalization Means for Immigrants and the United States by Sofya Aptekar.

Between 2000 and 2011, eight million immigrants became American citizens. In naturalization ceremonies large and small these new Americans pledged an oath of allegiance to the United States, gaining the right to vote, serve on juries, and hold political office; access to certain jobs; and the legal rights of full citizens.

In The Road to Citizenship, Sofya Aptekar analyzes what the process of becoming a citizen means for these newly minted Americans and what it means for the United States as a whole. Examining the evolution of the discursive role of immigrants in American society from potential traitors to morally superior “supercitizens,” Aptekar’s in-depth research uncovers considerable contradictions with the way naturalization works today. Census data reveal that citizenship is distributed in ways that increasingly exacerbate existing class and racial inequalities, at the same time that immigrants’ own understandings of naturalization defy accepted stories we tell about assimilation, citizenship, and becoming American. Aptekar contends that debates about immigration must be broadened beyond the current focus on borders and documentation to include larger questions about the definition of citizenship.

Aptekar’s work brings into sharp relief key questions about the overall system: does the current naturalization process accurately reflect our priorities as a nation and reflect the values we wish to instill in new residents and citizens? Should barriers to full membership in the American polity be lowered? What are the implications of keeping the process the same or changing it? Using archival research, interviews, analysis of census and survey data, and participant observation of citizenship ceremonies, The Road to Citizenship demonstrates the ways in which naturalization itself reflects the larger operations of social cohesion and democracy in America.

Sofya Aptekar is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.


March 8, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 7, 2016

From the Bookshelves: A Promising Problem: The New Chicana/o History Edited by Carlos Kevin Blanton


A Promising Problem:  The New Chicana/o History

Edited by Carlos Kevin Blanton

In this collection of innovative, thought-provoking essays, established and emerging scholars consider the sea changes taking place within Chicana/o scholarship, the shifting racial and political boundaries of Chicana/o communities, and new perspectives on America’s culture wars.

Chicana/o history has reached an intriguing juncture. While academic and intellectual studies are embracing new, highly nuanced perspectives on race, class, gender, education, identity, and community, the field itself continues to be viewed as a battleground, subject to attacks from outside academia by those who claim that the discipline promotes racial hatred and anti-Americanism. Against a backdrop of deportations and voter suppression targeting Latinos, A Promising Problem presents the optimistic voices of scholars who call for sophisticated solutions while embracing transnationalism and the reality of multiple, overlapping identities.

Showcasing a variety of new directions, this anthology spans topics such as growth and reassessment in Chicana/o history manifested in a disruption of nationalism and geographic essentialism, the impact of legal history, interracial relations and the experiences of Latino subpopulations in the US South, race and the politics of religious history, transborder feminism in the early twentieth century, and aspirations for a field that increasingly demonstrates the relational dynamics of cultural production. As they reflect on the state of their field, the contributors offer significant insights into sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science, education, and literature, while tracing the history of activism throughout the last century and debating the very concepts of “Chicano” and “Chicano history.” Although the political landscape is fraught with closed-off rhetoric, A Promising Problem encourages diversity of thought and opens the possibilities of historical imagination.

Table of Contents

Chapter One. Looking In while Stepping Out: Growth, Reassessment, and the Promising Problem of the New Chicana/o History (Carlos Kevin Blanton)

Chapter Two. The Accidental Historian; or, How I Found My Groove in Legal History (Michael A. Olivas)

Chapter Three. Moving beyond Aztlán: Disrupting Nationalism and Geographic Essentialism in Chicano/a History (Lilia Fernandez)

Chapter Four. Chicana/o History as Southern History: Race, Place, and the US South (Perla M. Guerrero)

Chapter Five. Sacred Spaces: Race, Resistance, and the Politics of Chicana/o and Latina/o Religious History (Felipe Hinojosa)

Chapter Six. Chicanas in the US-Mexican Borderlands: Transborder Conversations of Feminism and Anarchism, 1905–1938 (Sonia Hernández)

Chapter Seven. Eastside Imaginaries: Toward a Relational and Transnational Chicana/o Cultural History (Luis Alvarez)

Select Bibliography of Recent Publications in Chicana/o History


March 7, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

From the Bookshelves: The Integration of Immigrants into American Societyby Mary Waters and Marisa Gerstein Pineau, editors (2015)


The Integration of Immigrants into American Society by Mary Waters and Marisa Gerstein Pineau, editors.  National Academy Press, 2015

The United States prides itself on being a nation of immigrants, and the country has a long history of successfully absorbing people from across the globe. The integration of immigrants and their children contributes to our economic vitality and our vibrant and ever changing culture. We have offered opportunities to immigrants and their children to better themselves and to be fully incorporated into our society and in exchange immigrants have become Americans - embracing an American identity and citizenship, protecting our country through service in our military, fostering technological innovation, harvesting its crops, and enriching everything from the nation's cuisine to its universities, music, and art.

Today, the 41 million immigrants in the United States represent 13.1 percent of the U.S. population. The U.S.-born children of immigrants, the second generation, represent another 37.1 million people, or 12 percent of the population. Thus, together the first and second generations account for one out of four members of the U.S. population. Whether they are successfully integrating is therefore a pressing and important question. Are new immigrants and their children being well integrated into American society, within and across generations? Do current policies and practices facilitate their integration? How is American society being transformed by the millions of immigrants who have arrived in recent decades?

To answer these questions, this new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine summarizes what we know about how immigrants and their descendants are integrating into American society in a range of areas such as education, occupations, health, and language.


March 6, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

From the Bookshelves: Making Immigrant Rights Real Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco by Els de Graauw


Making Immigrant Rights Real Nonprofits and the Politics of Integration in San Francisco by Els de Graauw, Cornell University Press, Hardcover, Coming soon

More than half of the 41 million foreign-born individuals in the United States today are noncitizens, half have difficulty with English, a quarter are undocumented, and many are poor. As a result, most immigrants have few opportunities to make their voices heard in the political process. Nonprofits in many cities have stepped into this gap to promote the integration of disadvantaged immigrants. They have done so despite notable constraints on their political activities, including limits on their lobbying and partisan electioneering, limited organizational resources, and dependence on government funding. Immigrant rights advocates also operate in a national context focused on immigration enforcement rather than immigrant integration. In Making Immigrant Rights Real, Els de Graauw examines how immigrant-serving nonprofits can make impressive policy gains despite these limitations.

Drawing on three case studies of immigrant rights policies—language access, labor rights, and municipal ID cards—in San Francisco, de Graauw develops a tripartite model of advocacy strategies that nonprofits have used to propose, enact, and implement immigrant-friendly policies: administrative advocacy, cross-sectoral and cross-organizational collaborations, and strategic issue framing. The inventive development and deployment of these strategies enabled immigrant-serving nonprofits in San Francisco to secure some remarkable new immigrant rights victories, and de Graauw explores how other cities can learn from their experiences.


March 2, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

From the Bookshelves: Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders by Linda Valdez


Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders  by Linda Valdez

Not a typical immigration story, Crossing the Line is told by a middle-class American woman who falls in love with the son of an impoverished family from rural Mexico—a man who crosses the border illegally to be with her.

Married in 1988, Linda and Sixto Valdez learn to love each other’s very different families and cultures, raising their child to walk proudly in both worlds.

Revealing the tragedies and ultimately the triumphs that emerge when two families living on different sides of the border come together, Crossing the Line cuts through the fears and preconceptions that fuel the continuing political turmoil over immigration. It is a story America needs to hear. 

A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2003, Linda Valdez is a columnist and editorial writer at the Arizona Republic/ She has written extensively about immigration and border issues. Her commentary opposing Arizona’s infamous anti-immigration laws earned her the Scripps Howard Walker Stone Award for editorial writing in 2011.


February 24, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Four Books Immigration Policy Makers Should Read

Janny Gandhi

Janny Gandhi, a current OU College of Law 1L, outlined a reading list for immigration policymakers back in 2014.

Her picks include:

  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave (a work of fiction "about the intertwining lives of a British woman and a Nigerian girl... [who] is a refugee forced to reside in a British immigration detention center.")
  • Brother I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat (the "memoir of the niece of Joseph Danticat, an eighty-one-year-old Haitian minister who died after DHS authorities at a Florida detention center denied him medical treatment.")

It's clearly time to fire up those Kindles and hunker down with a good book.


February 2, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five Books on the Economic Impacts of Immigration

Saturday, January 23, 2016

From the Bookshelves: The Law and Higher Education: Cases and Materials on Colleges in Court, Fourth Edition by Michael A. Olivas and Amy Gajda


The Law and Higher Education: Cases and Materials on Colleges in Court, Fourth Edition by Michael A. Olivas and Amy Gajda

Now in its fourth edition, this book reflects the extraordinary growth in the law of higher education and the accompanying rise in scholarship and commentary on higher education law and governance. The case selection reflects major themes and issues. To this end, cases with interesting facts, news accounts of fascinating developments, and insights and articles from scholars and practitioners have also been used. The result is a unique book on a rapidly growing area of law and society. It is the most established and widely adopted casebook in the field. Updated with recent court cases and statutes, it can be used in law schools, in colleges of education, or in professional courses.

Michael Olivas, one of the so-authors, also is an influential immigration law scholar.


January 23, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

From the Bookshelves: Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco by Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr.


Latinos at the Golden Gate: Creating Community and Identity in San Francisco by Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr.

Born in an explosive boom and built through distinct economic networks, San Francisco has a cosmopolitan character that often masks the challenges migrants faced to create community in the city by the bay. Latin American migrants have been part of the city's story since its beginning. Charting the development of a hybrid Latino identity forged through struggle--latinidad--from the Gold Rush through the civil rights era, Tomás F. Summers Sandoval Jr. chronicles the rise of San Francisco's diverse community of Latin American migrants.

This latinidad, Summers Sandoval shows, was formed and made visible on college campuses and in churches, neighborhoods, movements for change, youth groups, protests, the Spanish-language press, and business districts. Using diverse archival sources, Summers Sandoval gives readers a panoramic perspective on the transformation of a multinational, multigenerational population into a visible, cohesive, and diverse community that today is a major force for social and political activism and cultural production in California and beyond.



January 12, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 11, 2016

From the Bookshelves: Human Trafficking by Cheryl Taylor Page, Robert William Piatt, Jr.



Human Trafficking by Cheryl Taylor Page, Robert William Piatt, Jr. Forthcoming March 2016

Human Trafficking explores the legal, moral, and political attempts to contain sex and labor trafficking. The authors bring unique perspectives to these topics. Professor Page, an African-American woman all too familiar with the vestiges of slavery, has written and lectured internationally on trafficking. Professor Piatt, a Hispanic law professor and former law school dean, brings his international experience as an educator, author, and advocate regarding immigration and human rights matters to bear. The book considers efforts at containment, including controversial topics such as whether prostitution should be legalized. It concludes with specific approaches to eliminate trafficking.


January 11, 2016 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

From the Bookshelves: The Cultural Defense of Nations: A Liberal Theory of Majority Rights by Liav Orgad


 The Cultural Defense of Nations:  A Liberal Theory of Majority Rights

Liav Orgad

The changing patterns of contemporary immigration have initiated a new form of majority nationalism. In recent years, liberal democracies have introduced immigration and citizenship policies that are designed to defend the majority culture. This trend is fed by fears of immigration-some justified, some paranoid-which explain the rise of extreme right-wing parties in the West. Liberal theory and human rights law seem to be out of sync with these developments. While they recognize the rights of minority groups to maintain their cultural identity, it is typically assumed that majority groups have neither a need for similar rights nor a moral basis for defending them. The majority culture, so the argument goes, "can take care of itself." This singular book shifts the focus from the prevailing discussion of minority rights and, for the first time, directly addresses the cultural rights of majorities. The findings reveal a troubling trend in liberal democracies, which, ironically, in order to protect liberal values, violate the very same values. The book criticizes this state of affairs and presents a liberal theory of cultural defense that distinguishes between justifiable and unjustifiable attempts by majorities to protect their cultural essentials. It formulates liberal standards by which liberal states can welcome immigrants without fundamentally changing their cultural heritage, forsaking their liberal traditions, or slipping into extreme nationalism.

The Cultural Defense of Nations presents a timely, thought-provoking thesis on one of the most pressing issues of our time-immigrants, majority groups, and national identity.


December 29, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Refugee of the Day: Valentino Achak Deng (South Sudan)


 Valentino Achak Deng, Co-founder of the Valentino Achak Deng (VAD) Foundation

Valentino Deng was born in Marial Bai in present-day South Sudan. He fled in the late 1980s during the second Sudanese civil war, when his village was destroyed by the militia murahaleen. He was among thousands of displaced youth, known as the “Lost Boys” of Sudan. Deng spent nine years in Ethiopian and Kenyan refugee camps, where he worked for the UNHCR as a social advocate and reproductive health educator. In 2001, he was resettled to Atlanta, GA. Deng has toured the U.S. speaking about his life in South Sudan, his experience as a refugee, and his collaboration with author Dave Eggers on What Is the What, the novelized version of Deng’s life story.

Deng and Eggers founded the VAD Foundation in 2006 to help rebuild South Sudanese communities by increasing educational access. 





December 24, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

J.K. Rowling: The Trump is Voldemort!

Monday, December 21, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Refugees from Armed Conflict: The 1951 Refugee Convention and International Humanitarian Law by Vanessa Holzer

Refugees from armed conflict

Refugees from Armed Conflict: The 1951 Refugee Convention and International Humanitarian Law by Vanessa Holzer

Armed conflicts are a major cause of forced displacement, but people displaced by conflict are often not recognized as refugees under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. They are frequently considered as having fled from generalized violence rather than from persecution. This book determines the international meaning of the refugee definition in Article 1A(2) of the Convention as regards refugee protection claims related to situations of armed conflict in the country of origin. Although the human rights based interpretation of the refugee definition is widely accepted, the interpretation and application of the Convention as regards claims to refugee status that relate to armed conflict is often marred with difficulties. Moreover, contexts of armed conflict pose the question of whether and to what extent the refugee definition should be interpreted in light of international humanitarian law. This book identifies the potential and limits of this interpretative approach. Starting from the history of international refugee law, the book situates the 1951 Convention within the international legal framework for the protection of the individual in armed conflict. It examines the refugee definition in light of human rights, international humanitarian law, and international criminal law, focusing on the elements of the refugee definition that most benefit from this interpretative approach: persecution and the requirement that the refugee claimant's predicament must be causally linked to the race, religion, nationality, and/or membership of a particular social group or political opinion.


December 21, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

From the Bookshelves: The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy by Benjamin Powell, editor



The Economics of Immigration: Market-Based Approaches, Social Science, and Public Policy by Benjamin Powell, editor, Oxford University Press 2015

The Economics of Immigration summarizes the best social science studying the actual impact of immigration, which is found to be at odds with popular fears. Greater flows of immigration have the potential to substantially increase world income and reduce extreme poverty. Existing evidence indicates that immigration slightly enhances the wealth of natives born in destination countries while doing little to harm the job prospects or reduce the wages of most of the native-born population. Similarly, although a matter of debate, most credible scholarly estimates of the net fiscal impact of current migration find only small positive or negative impacts. Importantly, current generations of immigrants do not appear to be assimilating more slowly than prior waves. Although the range of debate on the consequences of immigration is much narrower in scholarly circles than in the general public, that does not mean that all social scientists agree on what a desirable immigration policy embodies. The second half of this book contains three chapters, each by a social scientist who is knowledgeable of the scholarship summarized in the first half of the book, which argue for very different policy immigration policies. One proposes to significantly cut current levels of immigration. Another suggests an auction market for immigration permits. The third proposes open borders. The final chapter surveys the policy opinions of other immigration experts and explores the factors that lead reasonable social scientists to disagree on matters of immigration policy.

Table of Contents

 1. Introduction  Benjamin Powell


2. The Economic Effects of International Labor Mobility  Peter T. Leeson and Zachary Gochenour

3. The Fiscal Impact of Immigration   Alex Nowrasteh

4. The Civic and Cultural Assimilation of Immigrants to the United States   Jacob Vigdor

5. Employment VISAs: An International Comparison Alexandre Padilla and Nicolás Cachanosky


6. Immigration Reform: A Modest Proposal   Richard K. Vedder

7. Immigration's Future: A Pathway to Legalization and Assimilation  Herbert London

8. A Radical Case for Open Borders   Bryan Caplan and Vipul Naik

9. Conclusion: Alternative Policy Perspectives   Benjamin Powell


December 20, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Human Rights In Children’s Literature: Imagination And The Narrative Of Law by Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham


Human Rights In Children’s Literature: Imagination And The Narrative Of Law by Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham, Oxford University Press 2015

How can children grow to realize their inherent rights and to respect the rights of others? And how are human rights norms disseminated so that they make a difference in children’s lives? In this book, Jonathan Todres and Sarah Higinbotham explore these questions through both human rights law and the texts much close to young people’s lives: children’s literature. Both international and domestic law affirm that children have rights. Human rights education research demonstrates that when children learn about human rights, they exhibit greater self-esteem and respect for the rights of others. The Convention on the Rights of the Child ─ the most widely-ratified human rights treaty ─ not only ensures that children have rights, it also requires that states make those rights "widely known, by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike." This first-of-its-kind requirement for a human rights treaty indicates that if rights are to be meaningful to the lives of children, then government and civil society must engage with those rights in ways that are relevant to children.

Human Rights in Children's Literature investigates children's rights under international law ─ identity and family rights, the right to be heard, the right to be free from discrimination, and other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights ─ and considers the way in which those rights are embedded in children's literature from Peter Rabbit to Horton Hears a Who! to Harry Potter. This book traverses children's rights law, literary theory, and human rights education to argue that in order for children to fully realize their human rights, they first have to imagine and understand them.



December 16, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

From the Bookshelves: Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600-2000 by Kunal M. Parker


Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600-2000 by Kunal M. Parker, cambrige University Press 2015.

This book reconceptualizes the history of U.S. immigration and citizenship law from the colonial period to the beginning of the twenty-first century by joining the histories of immigrants to those of Native Americans, African Americans, women, Asian Americans, Latino/a Americans, and the poor. Kunal Parker argues that during the earliest stages of American history, being legally constructed as a foreigner, along with being subjected to restrictions on presence and movement, was not confined to those who sought to enter the country from the outside, but was also used against those on the inside. Insiders thus shared important legal disabilities with outsiders. It is only over the course of four centuries, with the spread of formal and substantive citizenship among the domestic population, a hardening distinction between citizen and alien, and the rise of a powerful centralized state, that the uniquely disabled legal subject we recognize today as the immigrant has emerged. The book advances new ways of understanding the relationship between foreignness and subordination over the long span of American history.


December 15, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

From the Bookshelves: The El Mozote Massacre: Human Rights and Global Implications (Revised and Expanded Edition Revised Edition) by Dr. Leigh Binford


The El Mozote Massacre: Human Rights and Global Implications Revised and Expanded Edition Revised Edition by Dr. Leigh Binford

 In 1981, more than a thousand civilians around El Mozote, El Salvador, were slaughtered by the country’s U.S.-trained army. The story was covered—and soon forgotten—by the international news media. In the first edition of The El Mozote Massacre, released in 1996, anthropologist Leigh Binford successfully restores a social identity to the massacre victims through his dissection of Third World human rights reporting and a rich ethnographic and personal account of El Mozote–area residents prior to the massacre.

Almost two decades later, the consequences of the massacre continue to reverberate through the country’s legal and socioeconomic systems. The El Mozote Massacre, 2nd Edition, which will be released in March 2016, brings together new evidence to address reconstruction, historical memory, and human rights issues resulting from what may be the largest massacre in modern Latin American history.

With a multitude of additions, including three new chapters, an extended chronology, discussion of the hearing and ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2012, and evidence gathered throughout half a dozen field trips made by the author, Binford presents a current perspective on the effects of this tragic moment in history. Thanks to geographically expanded fieldwork, Binford offers critical discussion of postwar social, economic, religious, and social justice in El Mozote, and adds important new regional, national, and global contexts.

The El Mozote Massacre, 2nd Edition maintains the crucial presence of the massacre in human rights discussions for El Salvador, Latin America, and the world.


December 13, 2015 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)