Las Cruces – Immigration reform is widely discussed and highly politicized, and will be one of the issues taking Americans to the polls this year. New Mexico State University is offering the Borderland a chance to take the discussion back in time, allowing for insight into contemporary discussions on immigration with a speaker series, "Arriving in America: The Challenge of Immigrants and Minorities in Modern American History."
The series presents seven noted historians from across the country who will look at the experiences of several different immigrant groups such as Mexican and Hispanics, the Irish, the Italians, East European Jews, the Great Migration of African Americans and Asians.
"Given the similarity among the experiences of Mexicans and other immigrant groups," said Andrea Orzoff, a history professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at NMSU and speaker series organizer, "I thought this would provide the opportunity for a transnational comparative discussion of immigration as an ongoing problem for American society."
Orzoff also hopes to encourage thoughtful reflection on a complex issue.
"This kind of dialogue might allow us to make more useful observations about ongoing patterns of xenophobia and nativism, changes in American borders, and the shifting definition of whiteness in modern American history," Orzoff said.
The series begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31. All talks will be held in the College of Health and Social Services auditorium, except for the final talk, which will be at the Stan Fulton Center.
The first speaker of the series, Anthony Mora, an assistant professor in the history department at the University of Michigan, will present "'Americans Immigrate Constantly:' Historic Ironies and Reversals that Made the Modern U.S.-Mexican Border."
Matthew Jacobson, a professor of American studies, African-American studies and history at Yale University, will speak on "Race, Immigration, and Citizenship in the United States: The Irish Experience as Racial Odyssey" on Tuesday, Feb. 7.
Independent documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Norelli will bring his documentary film "Pane Amaro (Bitter Bread)" on the Italian-American immigrant experience to campus Thursday, Feb. 16.
Spencer Crew, a Robinson professor at George Mason University, will discuss "The Great Migration of African Americans: Making the 'Color Line' National" on Monday, Feb. 20.
Hasia Diner, the Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, will speak on "East European Jewish Immigrants: Unwanted in the Land of Promise" on Thursday, Feb. 23.
Charlotte Brooks, an assistant professor of history and co-chair of the Program in Asian and Asian-American studies at Baruch College, City University of New York, will discuss "The First 'Illegals': The Legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882" on Thursday, March 8.
On Monday, March 12, David Gutierrez, a professor in the history department at the University of California at San Diego, will conclude the series at the Stan Fulton Center with a capstone lecture on "The Suppression of Immigrants' Rights and the Impending Crisis of Citizenship."
The lectures are free and open to the public. A parking permit for off-campus visitors is available at https://corridor.nmsu.edu/auxadmin/ParkingForms/epermit.aspx.
A campus map indicating the location of the College of Health and Social Services, including nearby parking, is available at http://chss.nmsu.edu/prospective-students/visit-our-college/
For more information contact Andrea Orzoff at 575-646-4612.