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International Seminar Series: Inside an American Immigrant Family
Dr. Augusto Espiritu, Professor of Asian American Studies and History at University of Illinois, will present “Inside an American Immigrant Family: The Presidential Elections of 2016”
In the Presidential Elections of 2016, immigration has taken center stage as an issue of fundamental importance. On one side, the Democrats seek a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented migrants, after years of being unresolved or unattained. On the other hand, the Republicans campaign on building a wall to stem undocumented migration from the Mexican border, propose extreme measures for vetting war-torn Muslim refugees, and threaten to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship. Thus, in this electoral year, the politics of immigration and the politics of choosing America’s next president and determining its future have become intertwined. This is especially so for America’s immigrant families who are being hailed (“interpellated”) by both political parties to play a vital role in the race to the White House through their voices, their campaigning, their financial contributions, and their voting. In this talk, I will take an intimate look at how one American family, my own, will vote in the U.S. presidential election. This year marks four decades since our arrival from the Philippines during America’s Bicentennial Celebration. The majority of them being women, the members of my family have been care givers, industrial workers, and service workers, but they have also been professionals, administrators, and managers. They have worked for the public as well as the private sectors. They have lived in or near urban Los Angeles, in largely immigrant and minority communities, but they now live in a predominantly white, suburban, and conservative area of Orange County. They all came legally and they all became U.S. citizens, but they have known friends, relatives, and colleagues who were or are undocumented. I will explore not only how they will vote and their differing choices but the views they hold on the questions of immigration politics as they have been presented in this presidential race. Their answers will not only shed light on the complexity of views among America’s immigrant families but also open a window into their self-understanding as Americans and as immigrants of long standing in this country and the changes they have seen and experienced. Finally, I will share my own experience as a member of the “1.5 generation” and as a family member who has lived his entire working and married life as an academic in Illinois, 2,000 miles away from where he grew up.
Augusto Espiritu teaches history and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the co-editor of the essay anthology Filipino Studies: Palimpsests of Nation and Diaspora (2016), author of Five Faces of Exile: The Nation and Filipino American Intellectuals (2005), and various essays on migration, transnational politics, and Americanization’s impact on the U.S. insular empire during the first half of the twentieth century. He was born in Manila and grew up in Los Angeles. He attended Loyola High School and received his undergraduate and doctoral degrees at UCLA. He also taught for Semester at Sea, a global program of the Institute for Shipboard Education.
In accordance with the International Strategic Plan, Illinois State University is in the process of developing campus-wide global learning goals. This is an exciting time of growth and change for the ISU community. Comprehensive campus internationalization, as it is called, goes far beyond study-abroad trips and international student recruitment. It includes the expansion of internationally-oriented courses, clubs, dining, housing, civic engagement and other activities at our home campus and affiliated locations. This past Spring, the Office of International Studies and Programs (OISP) dedicated its International Studies Seminar Series to the topics of Global Learning with a focus on Global Engagement. This Fall, we will examine The U.S. Presidential Election, its Global Implications, and its Comparative Perspectives. The International Studies Seminar Series will be held on Wednesdays from 12:00-1:00pm in the Bone Student Center at 100 N. University St., Normal, IL 61761, starting August 31st and ending on November 16th. Students, staff, faculty, and community members are all encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Dr. Maria Schmeeckle at email@example.com or (309) 438-2932.
This is part of the continuing International Studies Seminar Series sponsored by the Office of International Studies and Programs. Small snacks will be served.