Colloquium series crosses disciplines and borders

Written by
Sarah Malone, Program in American Studies
March 4, 2021

Ideas of civic space and engagement, labor and race, boundaries and populations, and the lived consequences of policy — these are among the lenses brought to focus on migration and demographics in the Americas by the Center for Migration and Development (CMD) Spring 2021 Colloquium Series.

“The Center for Migration and Development seeks to create interdisciplinary spaces for the discussion of timely and relevant issues regarding immigrants, and the complex forces shaping socio-economic development in the United States and other parts of the world,” said Patricia Fernández-Kelly, CMD director, professor of sociology, and associate director of the Program in American Studies. “Our colloquium series hosts some of the most exciting figures making state-of-the-art contributions to our knowledge.”

The Program in American Studies and the Program in Latino Studies join as cosponsors to support the CMD and the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) Migration Lab in presenting eight speakers in March and April, drawing on disciplines including geography, history, politics, sociology, urban planning, Africana and Latinx studies. The series anchors on Thursdays at noon, with an additional colloquium on Tuesday, April 20.

At 6 p.m. on April 15, along with its examination of democracy, immigration and development, the series celebrates National Poetry Month, presenting Richard Blanco, the fifth United States presidential inaugural poet and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. The Department of English and Lewis Center for the Arts cosponsor.

“Richard Blanco is among the most talented and voices of our time,” Fernández-Kelly said. “His poetry focuses on the eternal, even as it shapes the daily lives and meditations of immigrants and their children. He connects themes of universal significance with fleeting moments of lyrical power.”

The events, held via Zoom, are free. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public are welcome.

The full schedule, with links to register for each event, follows below.

Thursday, March 11: Yarimar Bonilla

Yarimar Bonilla

Yarimar Bonilla. Photo courtesy of Yarimar Bonilla

Yarimar Bonilla is professor in the Department of Africana and Puerto Rican/Latino Studies at Hunter College and the Ph.D. program in anthropology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She has written about anti-colonial movements in the French Caribbean, the role of digital protest in the Black Lives Matter movement, the cultural implications of the Trump presidency, disaster capitalism and post-disaster imaginaries in contemporary Puerto Rico. She is a regular contributor to publications such as The Washington Post, The Nation, and The New Yorker, and a frequent voice on National Public Radio.

In “An Unthinkable State: Puerto Rico, USA, and the Aporias of Empire,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., Bonilla examines the rising popularity and shifting strategies of the Puerto Rican statehood movement, with a focus on how and why annexation has come to be imagined as a form of anti-colonial politics.

Thursday, March 25: Michael Jones-Correa

Michael Jones-Correa

Michael Jones-Correa. Photo courtesy of the University of Pennsylvania

Michael Jones-Correa is the President’s Distinguished Professor of Political Science and director of the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Immigration at the University of Pennsylvania. He is a co-author of Holding Fast: Resilience and Civic Engagement Among Latino Immigrants (Russell Sage, 2020) and author of Between Two Nations: The Political Predicament of Latinos in New York City (Cornell University Press, 1998), among numerous publications. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1994 and was a 2009-10 visiting fellow at Princeton’s Center for the Study of Democratic Politics.

Jones-Correa presents "Shared Space, Social Capital and Civic Engagement,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., using decoded census and voting data, and drawing on a unique dataset of city permits for Philadelphia neighborhood “block parties” over time, to explore the ways that one-off community events that draw neighbors together can influence voting behavior.

Thursday, April 1: Juan de Lara

Juan De Lara

Juan De Lara. Photo courtesy of the University of Southern California

Juan de Lara is an associate professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and a human geographer who works at the intersections of race, space, and power. His first book, Inland Shift: Race, Space, and Capital in Inland Southern California (University of California Press, 2018) uses logistics and commodity chains to unpack the black box of globalization by showing how the scientific management of bodies, space and time produced new racialized labor regimes that facilitated a more complex and extended system of global production, distribution, and consumption.

In “Dumb Walls, Smart Borders: Race, Labor, and the Algorithms of Enforcement,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., de Lara examines how efforts to modernize the southern U.S. border represent new socio-technical attempts to produce and manage racial difference. Rather than focusing on the material technologies of border enforcement, De Lara’s reading of computational border strategies emphasizes the human touch required to produce, make sense of and deploy the work that machines do.

Thursday, April 8: Zaire Dinzey-Flores

Zaire Dinzey-Flores

Zaire Dinzey-Flores’ research focuses on understanding how urban space mediates community life and race, class, and social inequality. Her book Locked In, Locked Out: Gated Communities in a Puerto Rican City (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), winner of the 2014 Robert E. Park Award of the Community and Urban Sociology Section (CUSS) of the American Sociological Association and an honorable mention for the 2014 Frank Bonilla Book Award of the Puerto Rican Studies Association, examines race and class inequality as they are recreated, contained, and negotiated through urban policy, the physical built environment, and community gates in private and public housing.

In “Counting Black Latinxs: Measuring Race for Equity in Latinidad,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., Dinzey-Flores discusses a survey of the Afrolatin@ Forum designed and piloted to measure race among Latinxs, and the theoretical and epistemological challenges that such a survey raised to the concept of Latinidad, disrupting dominant Latinx perspectives that largely focus on identity, and instead centering how race is experienced in the everyday, and providing a model for research that directly pursues questions of racial equity.

Thursday, April 15: Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz, Richard Blanco

Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz

Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz. Photo by Michael T. Davis

Andrew K. Sandoval-Strausz was born in New York City to immigrant parents. He teaches courses in Latino studies, urban history, spatial theory, sociability, and immigration. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New-York Historical Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Huntington Library, and the Harvard Business School. He was a 2015-16 Princeton-Mellon Fellow. His first book, Hotel: An American History (Yale University Press, 2007), won the American Historical Association-Pacific Coast Branch Book Award and was named a Best Book of 2007 by Library Journal.

In “If All the world Were Hazleton: Latina/o Migrants and the Origins of Political Xenophobia in Deindustrializing Pennsylvania,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., Sandoval-Strausz examines the anti-immigrant — especially anti-Hispanic — political tendency that has arisen since around 1980 in some of Pennsylvania’s industrial cities — Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, York and Hazelton — as they went from overwhelmingly white Anglo to predominately Latino at the same time as they lost working-class job opportunities.

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco. Photo by Jacob Hessler

Richard Blanco is the fifth United States presidential inaugural poet — the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, negotiation of cultural identity and place characterize his body of work. He is the author of the poetry collections Looking for the Gulf Motel, Directions to the Beach of the Dead, and City of a Hundred Fires, as well as chapbooks, two memoirs and Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler. His latest book of poems, How to Love a Country (Beacon Press, 2019), interrogates the American narrative, past and present and celebrates the still unkept promise of its ideals. His many honors include the PEN/Beyond Margins Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award.

Blanco presents readings and commentary, “Complaints of El Rio Grande,” from 6 to 7:15 p.m.

Tuesday, April 20: Vanessa Díaz

Vanessa Diaz

Vanessa Díaz is an interdisciplinary ethnographer, filmmaker, and journalist. Her research focuses on the ways race and gender impact labor markets and practices in the culture industries across the Americas. Her first book, Manufacturing Celebrity: How Latino Paparazzi and Women Reporters Build the Hollywood Industrial Complex, was recently published by Duke University Press. She is a co-author of UCLA’s 2017 Hollywood Diversity Report and is currently collaboratively producing a documentary about the Latino paparazzi of Los Angeles titled Pappin’ Ain’t Easy.

In “The Latino Paparazzi of Los Angeles: Life, Death, and Labor in the Hollywood Industrial Complex,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., Díaz situates Latina/o/x paparazzi’s criminalization within a recent shift toward a fame economy in the United States, detailing how these highly skilled but also precarious professional day laborers, both hidden and scapegoated, face violence and even death on the job.

Thursday, April 22: Marisol LeBrón

Marisol LeBron

Marisol LeBrón. Photo courtesy of Marisol LeBrón

Marisol LeBrón is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching focus on social inequality, policing, violence, and protest. Her book, Policing Life and Death: Race, Violence, and Resistance in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2019), examines the growth of punitive governance in contemporary Puerto Rico. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, and has published op-eds in The Washington Post, The Guardian and Truthout, and research in Modern American History, Radical History Review, Journal of Urban History and elsewhere.

In “Debt Colonialism and the Politics of Rage in Puerto Rico,” from noon to 1:15 p.m., LeBrón traces the ways that activists mobilize rage in order to navigate the constraints of colonial capitalism in contemporary Puerto Rico, and argues that the state is preoccupied with the growing rage articulated by Puerto Ricans because rage has the potential to create networks of solidarity grounded in a refusal of the current order.