Immigrant Voices: Writing, Labor and Community Stories
NEW! Last Updated: 05/18/2009
Faculty: Suzanne Simons Journalism, Cultural Studies, Community Studies, History
Major areas of study include Immigrant studies, feminist economics, political economy, oral history
Class Standing: Sophomores or above; transfer students welcome.
This full-time program will explore immigration through the lenses of labor, writing and story. Specifically, an 8-credit classroom component will focus on oral history, globalization, migration, feminist economics and political economy. For the other eight credits, students can either do an oral history project working with local immigrant communities, or a 20-hour-a- week internship related to program themes.
Immigrant Voices builds on and is taking place in conjunction with (Re)Imagining the Middle East, a full-time fall/winter/spring program that has been examining the region through the social construction of knowledge and Western history of the Middle East, literature, religion, political economy, media studies, gender issues, and international relations. Spring quarter, students doing field work in Egypt and Jordan through (Re)Imagining the Middle East and students doing oral histories or internships in Immigrant Voices in the Olympia/Puget Sound area will be connecting their research. Students in both programs will meet together week one to set up blogs that they will be sharing throughout the quarter, and to discuss issues around working in a community that may not be their own. Both programs will also meet week ten for final presentations of their work.
In Immigrant Voices, the oral history component of the program will include students working in pairs or teams with local immigrant communities to record their histories and stories around themes of labor, migration, displacement and resettlement. In collaboration with immigrant communities, students will design and conduct interviews and document their stories through writing and photography. Students working on the oral history project are expected to do intensive writing, editing and be a part of the student editorial and graphic design team producing a publication and public photography exhibit of the work.
The political economy and feminist economics component of the program will examine women's stories of globalization, including migrant maids, nannies and sex workers whose narratives make up the "female underside" of globalization, and are often obscured from the dominant masculinist discourses of military conflicts, global finance and trade talks. In addition, we will study the geopolitics and community impacts of immigrant detention and deportation under the Department of Homeland Security, as well as the phenomenon of "belly-dancing" as a manifestation of cultural imperialism.
Required program books include Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; Global Woman: Nannies, Maids and Sex Workers in the New Economy by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild; Globalization and its Discontents by Saskia Sassen; and We are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities after 9/11 by Tram Nguyen. Other readings will include excerpts from Working by Studs Terkel, The Peoples of Washington by Sid White and S.E. Solberg, and an article on "Belly Dancing: Arab-Face, Orientalist Feminism, and U.S. Empire" by Sunaina Maira.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Internship Possibilities: Program-related internship and with faculty approval only
Special Expenses: $30 Seattle field trip
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in Education, economics, public service, social services, journalism, writing, publication management