Saturday, December 2, 2017
Somos como las nubes / We Are Like the Clouds is a book of poetry written by Jorge Argueta and illustrated by Alfonso Ruano. It's about the migration of children from Central America to the United States. It's geared towards younger readers but will be of interest to immprofs as well.
I was most moved by the poem "El barrio La Campanera," which I'm thinking about assigning in class this Spring.
no tiene campanas.
aparecen por las noches,
aparecen por la tarde
y por las mañanas.
aparence a todas horas.
tienen los ojos duros.
En sus brazos, caras,
pechos y espaldas
viven, como culebras,
A mí me da miedo que
esas culebras me vayan a picar.
* * *
has no bells.
It has painted me and women.
The painted ones.
The painted people
come out at night,
in the afternoon,
in the morning.
The painted people
come out at all hours.
They have hard eyes.
Their arms, faces,
chests and backs
I'm afraid of those snakes.
They might bite me.
Friday, December 1, 2017
The Cholo Tree by Daniel Chacón
Do you know what a stereotype you are?” Jessica asks her son. “You’re the existential Chicano.” Fourteen-year-old Victor has just been released from the hospital; his chest is wrapped in bandages and his arm is in a sling. He has barely survived being shot, and his mother accuses him of being a cholo, something he denies.
She’s not the only adult that thinks he’s a gangbanger. His sociology teacher once sent him to a teach-in on gang violence. Victor’s philosophy is that everyone is racist. “They see a brown kid, they see a banger.” Even other kids think he’s in a gang, maybe because of the clothes he wears. The truth is, he loves death (metal, that is), reading books, drawing, the cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz and the Showtime series Weeds. He likes school and cooking. He knows what a double negative is!
But he can’t convince his mom that he’s not in a gang. And in spite of a genius girlfriend and an art teacher who mentors and encourages him to apply to art schools, Victor can’t seem to overcome society’s expectations for him.
In this compelling novel, renowned Chicano writer Daniel Chacón once again explores art, death, ethnicity and racism. Are Chicanos meant for meth houses instead of art schools? Are talented Chicanos never destined to study in Paris?
DANIEL CHACÓN is the author of Hotel Juárez: Stories, Rooms and Loops (Arte Público Press, 2013); Unending Rooms (Black Lawrence Press, 2008), winner of the Hudson Prize; and the shadows took him (Washington Square Press, 2005) and Chicano Chicanery (Arte Público Press, 2000). A professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, he is co-editor of The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: The Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga (University of Arizona Press, 2008).
Thursday, November 30, 2017
Monday, November 20, 2017
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Comedian Hari Kondabolu, the creator and star of the feature-length documentary The Problem with Apu, confronts his long standing “nemesis” Apu Nahasapeemapetilon – better known as the Indian convenience store owner on The Simpsons. Through this comedic cultural exposé, Kondabolu questions how this controversial caricature was created, burrowed its way into the hearts and minds of Americans and continues to exist – intact – twenty-eight years later.
The Problem with Apu premieres on tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on TruTV.
The Hollywood Review has a review of The Problem with Apu. Here is a part of the review:
"If nothing else, truTV's new documentary The Problem with Apu, written by and starring comic Hari Kondabolu, has probably quashed any desire to bring up caveats in my hypothetical response. A brisk discourse on hegemony and representational inequality, The Problem with Apu lays out its thesis against the character's acceptability in 2017 (to say nothing of 1989) with such clarity it's hard to imagine it generating an adversarial response more cogent than that hoary classic "It's a joke, stop taking it so seriously," which is no response at all.
The problem with The Problem with Apu is that, at 49 minutes, it's half a film. Directed by Michael Melamedoff, The Problem with Apu makes its primary case, has a couple of talking heads including Kondabolu admit they aren't sure what can or should be done, and ends abruptly and frustratingly.
That case can be summed up simply: Although representation of South Asian actors and characters has increased and improved on television and in movies in recent years, it's still relatively minuscule and when The Simpsons premiered, South Asian characters were basically nonexistent. So for the one prominent South Asian character on TV to be a frequently deceitful convenience store proprietor with a cartoonish Indian accent voiced by a white guy? That's bad. It's bad for a generation of South Asian children growing up and seeing only that one representation of their culture and having fellow kids judge them based upon it. It's bad for the older generation that had their immigrant experience represented in only this one way on TV for millions or maybe even billions of viewers. It's just bad."
Thursday, November 16, 2017
From the Bookshelves: IMMIGRATION AND THE LAW: Race, Citizenship, and Social Control by Sofia Espinoza Alvarez & Martin Guevara
Monday, November 13, 2017
From the Bookshelves: Porous Borders: Multiracial Migrations and the Law in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands by Julian Lim
By Julian Lim
With the railroad’s arrival in the late nineteenth century, immigrants of all colors rushed to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, transforming the region into a booming international hub of economic and human activity. Following the stream of Mexican, Chinese, and African American migration, Julian Lim presents a fresh study of the multiracial intersections of the borderlands, where diverse peoples crossed multiple boundaries in search of new economic opportunities and social relations. However, as these migrants came together in ways that blurred and confounded elite expectations of racial order, both the United States and Mexico resorted to increasingly exclusionary immigration policies in order to make the multiracial populations of the borderlands less visible within the body politic, and to remove them from the boundaries of national identity altogether.
Using a variety of English- and Spanish-language primary sources from both sides of the border, Lim reveals how a borderlands region that has traditionally been defined by Mexican-Anglo relations was in fact shaped by a diverse population that came together dynamically through work and play, in the streets and in homes, through war and marriage, and in the very act of crossing the border.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Shy Mama's Halloween is a children's book, available on Amazon.
The Hilltown Families blog has a great summary:
In the story, an immigrant family prepares for Halloween – a holiday that they’ve never celebrated before because they’re new to the United States and, in their home country of Russia, Halloween wasn’t part of the culture. While Mama is willing to help her four children prepare their costumes, she’s equally wary of both going door to door in her new neighborhood and a holiday whose theme is centered around sinister characters. It is decided that the children’s father will bring them trick-or-treating, but when he comes home from work sick on the evening of Halloween, it is up to shy Mama to supervise the family’s Halloween outing.
The book's setting is historical, but its themes are universal. It's a story about new immigrants and unfamiliar cultural traditions. A great Halloween read!
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Here is the abstract of the book from www.amazon.com:
"Mark, Todd, and Zola came to law school to change the world, to make it a better place. But now, as third-year students, these close friends realize they have been duped. They all borrowed heavily to attend a third-tier, for-profit law school so mediocre that its graduates rarely pass the bar exam, let alone get good jobs. And when they learn that their school is one of a chain owned by a shady New York hedge-fund operator who also happens to own a bank specializing in student loans, the three know they have been caught up in The Great Law School Scam.
But maybe there's a way out. Maybe there’s a way to escape their crushing debt, expose the bank and the scam, and make a few bucks in the process. But to do so, they would first have to quit school. And leaving law school a few short months before graduation would be completely crazy, right? Well, yes and no . . .
Pull up a stool, grab a cold one, and get ready to spend some time at The Rooster Bar."
There is an immigration angle to The Rooster Bar, which is highligeted in the review by Jocelyn McClurg in USA Today:
"Grisham, who’s at his best when he brings his sardonic sense of humor to the sometimes questionable ethics of law and banking, also takes aim at the politics of immigration. Zola was born in the U.S. shortly after her undocumented parents and older brother arrived from Senegal 26 years earlier. After her family members are suddenly rounded up, placed in a detention center and then sent back to Africa, Zola worries for her own safety as well.
It’s clear where Grisham stands. `(Her parents) had worked like dogs in a country they were proud of, with the dream of one day belonging. How, exactly, would their removal benefit this great nation of immigrants? It made no sense and seemed unjustly cruel.'”
The protagonists in the book visit a detention facility -- comparing it to Auschwitz -- and Grisham provides much information about the modern immigrant detention machinery. The immigration subplot is pretty extensive.
I am still early in the book. So far, as is characteristic of a Grisham novel, it is engaging. But do not think that Grisham will pull any punches as far as law schools go.
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Edited by Ayelet Shachar, Rainer Baubock, Irene Bloemraad, and Maarten Vink
- Brings together the latest normative and empirical debates synthesized by leading experts in the field
- Revisits classic questions of citizenship and lays out cutting-edge contemporary approaches
- Analyzes citizenship from multiple disciplinary perspectives
Contrary to predictions that it would become increasingly redundant in a globalizing world, citizenship is back with a vengeance. The Oxford Handbook of Citizenship brings together leading experts in law, philosophy, political science, economics, sociology, and geography to provide a multidisciplinary, comparative discussion of different dimensions of citizenship: as legal status and political membership; as rights and obligations; as identity and belonging; as civic virtues and practices of engagement; and as a discourse of political and social equality or responsibility for a common good.
Saturday, October 7, 2017
Thi Bui was only 3 years old when her family fled South Vietnam in the 1970s to start a new life in California. Bui’s illustrated memoir, The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir, explores her parents’ lives: the sacrifices they made and the struggles they went through that took their children years to understand. For a radio interview with Bui, author of “click here.
ABA Indies Introduce Winter / Spring 2017 Selection
Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2017 Selection
An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam, from debut author Thi Bui.
This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.
At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home.
In what Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist Viet Thanh Nguyen calls “a book to break your heart and heal it,” The Best We Could Do brings to life Thi Bui’s journey of understanding, and provides inspiration to all of those who search for a better future while longing for a simpler past.
Monday, September 25, 2017
From the Bookshelves: Sponsored Migration: The State and Puerto Rican Postwar Migration to the United States by Edgardo Melendez
Sponsored Migration places Puerto Rico’s migration policy in its historical context, examining the central role the Puerto Rican government played in encouraging and organizing migration during the postwar period. Meléndez sheds an important new light on the many ways in which the government intervened in the movement of its people: attempting to provide labor to U.S. agriculture, incorporating migrants into places like New York City, seeking to expand the island’s air transportation infrastructure, and even promoting migration in the public school system. One of the first scholars to explore this topic in depth, Meléndez illuminates how migration influenced U.S. and Puerto Rican relations from 1898 onward.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
From the Bookshelves: The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American by Lauren Markham
The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life (Crown, September 12, 2017)
Monday, September 11, 2017
The Latino Media Collective hosted Latino Rebels Radio this week. The LMC asks: are Filipinos Asians or Latinos? Anthony Ocampo, author of THE LATINOS OF ASIA, joins the show to discuss the question. Ocampo is an associate professor of sociology at Cal Polytechnic University in Pomona. For more, visit LatinoMediaCollective.com.
Click the link above to listen to the podcast.
Wednesday, September 6, 2017
"Teaching immigration law in the doctrinal or clinical context in current times provides rich opportunities to interrogate questions of race, power and agency, and to center lawyering principles that recognize and emphasize the many ways in which lawyers can support organized movements for social change. While immigration law courses tend to either follow a traditional chronological series of constitutional cases or take a practical approach to training students on immigration agency procedures, the following suggestions offer opportunities to consider the lived experiences of migrants directly impacted by these laws and policies, discuss how immigration law has been used to enforce structural racial, economic and gender hierarchies, and reflect on how organized resistance has shaped the evolution of immigration law."
Thursday, August 31, 2017
Monday, August 21, 2017
Latinos in the United States: What Everyone Needs to Know® by Ilan Stavans (December 2017)
- Provides a comprehensive view of Latinos from an interdisciplinary perspective
- Argues that Latino Americans, more than any other minority group, will redefine the way the United States understands itself
- Explores the ways acculturation is leading to a new "mestizo" identity that is part Hispanic and part American
Friday, August 18, 2017
From our pop culture corner. Mila Kunis, an Immigrant of the Day in August 2007, has offered a succinct immigration story in a new book of immigration stories. A refugee who came to the United States, Kunis has been critical of President's Trump immigration policies.
The creators of the television show Fresh Off the Boat have joined forces with celebrities to remind people of the humans behind immigration. In the upcoming book Six Words Fresh Off the Boat, Mila Kunis contributed a story about immigration using only six words. Her message provides one example of the hope that immigration can bring.
For Six Words Fresh Off the Boat, the creator of Fresh Off the Boat, Nahnatchka Khan, and the show’s executive producer, Melvin Marr, partnered with Six-Word Memoirs to focus on immigration — and Kunis shared her own six words on the topic:
“A better life for our children.”
Kunis’ parents gave her and her brother a better life, and she’s now passing that on to her two children with Ashton Kutcher — their daughter, Wyatt, and their son, Dimitri.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
From the Bookshelves: China’s Great Migration How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation by Bradley M. Gardner
China’s Great Migration How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation by Bradley M. Gardner
China’s rise over the past several decades has lifted more than half of its population out of poverty and reshaped the global economy. What has caused this dramatic transformation? In China’s Great Migration: How the Poor Built a Prosperous Nation, author Bradley Gardner looks at one of the most important but least discussed forces pushing China’s economic development: the migration of more than 260 million people from their birthplaces to China’s most economically vibrant cities. By combining an analysis of China’s political economy with current scholarship on the role of migration in economic development, China’s Great Migration shows how the largest economic migration in the history of the world has led to a bottom-up transformation of China.
Gardner draws from his experience as a researcher and journalist working in China to investigate why people chose to migrate and the social and political consequences of their decisions. In the aftermath of China's Cultural Revolution, the collapse of totalitarian government control allowed millions of people to skirt migration restrictions and move to China’s growing cities, where they offered a massive pool of labor that propelled industrial development, foreign investment, and urbanization. Struggling to respond to the demands of these migrants, the Chinese government loosened its grip on the economy, strengthening property rights and allowing migrants to employ themselves and each other, spurring the Chinese economic miracle.
More than simply a narrative of economic progress, China’s Great Migration tells the human story of China’s transformation, featuring interviews with the men and women whose way of life has been remade. In its pages, readers will learn about the rebirth of a country and millions of lives changed, hear what migration can tell us about the future of China, and discover what China’s development can teach the rest of the world about the role of market liberalization and economic migration in fighting poverty and creating prosperity.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
In their new book We Are Syrians, editors Adam Braver and Abby DeVeuve have collected the stories of three Syrian dissidents: SAR scholars Naila Al-Atrash, a theatre director; Radwan Ziadeh, an intellectual; and Sana Mustafa, a student organizer. When the Assad government wanted to silence them, they refused to stop making their voices heard. They organized, they protested, they made art. Scholars at Risk is proud to have helped with the formation of We Are Syrians, a project that grew out of a Roger Williams University Student Advocacy Seminar, and to have provided support to the scholars profiled. All author proceeds are donated to Scholars at Risk’s Emergency Fund.
For more information on We Are Syrians and how to order your copy, visit the Scholars at Risk website.