[URBANTH-L]AAA CFP: The End/s of E-race-ure in New "Latino" Destinations

Lisa Knauer lknauer at umassd.edu
Thu Feb 26 09:52:39 EST 2009

We are seeking paper proposals for a panel for the 2009 AAA meetings. In 
order to be considered for invited status, we need abstracts by midnight 
Saturday, February 28. Please send your abstract to one of the 
co-organizers:  Lisa Maya Knauer (lknauer at umassd.edu) or Angela Stuesse 
(astuesse at gmail.com).  Preliminary inquiries are welcomed.

The End/s of E-race-ure in New "Latino" Destinations: Transnational 
Migration, Racial Identities, and the Transformation of “Middle America”*

In recent decades, Latin Americans of diverse backgrounds have flocked 
to “Middle America". While some continue to find work in more 
traditional immigrant destinations (New York, Florida, and the 
Southwest), increasingly these transnational migrants—men and women, 
indigenous, Afro-Latin, and mestizo, peasant and blue-collar workers—are 
searching for life and livelihood in the communities of the Deep South, 
the Great Plains, the Midwest, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. 
They often arrive in small towns, or rural and suburban areas that have 
little experience with or infrastructure for the newcomers, whose 
presence is transforming social relations.

Anthropologists have led the way in exploring the problems today’s 
migrants confront in these new destinations, as well as the challenges 
for receiving communities. However, our studies have often lacked a 
sustained analysis how race and ethnicity shape the ways new migrants 
fit into and challenge established social and spatial hierarchies. The 
historical and contemporary political economies of race and ethnicity in 
“Middle America” are as diverse as its geographies, and their erasure 
from our field of view limits our abilities to analyze experiences with 
and understandings of new migration in a global economy. This panel 
seeks to refocus our attention to the intersections of racialized 
identity, power, and oppression while opening a comparative dialogue 
that allows us to explore how these issues overlap and diverge across 
distinct locales.

Papers draw upon ethnographic case studies throughout the U.S. to 
explore how these newcomers challenge existing localized “racial 
formations”, while also pushing at the methodological and ethical 
boundaries of our own work as researchers. How do Latin American 
migrants shift the deeply entrenched Black-white binary of the U.S. 
South. How does the presence of indigenous people for whom Spanish is at 
best a second language reframe “Latino” identities? How do complex 
ethno-racial identities, transnational allegiances and undocumented 
status complicate possibilities for organizing and developing alliances? 
Finally, we take up the question often bluntly posed by our informants: 
will this research really make a difference? From their precarious 
position, how might new migrants evaluate the “ends of anthropology”?

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