Friday, April 17, 2009, 3:00–5:00 p.m.
Immigration Politics, Service Labor, and the Problem of the Undocumented Worker
Thomas Jessen Adams, University of Chicago
Commentators: Will Jones, University of Wisconsin at Madison and Juan Mora-Torres, DePaul Univeristy
In 1971, California Governor Ronald Reagan signed into law the Arnett Act, criminalizing the employment of undocumented workers. In Southern California, the political and cultural debate surrounding the Arnett Act in particular and undocumented immigration in general, was specifically a discourse about labor and unemployment. These debates though, imagined undocumented workers taking manufacturing
employment away from native-born workers. In so doing, they obscured the actual work that most undocumented immigrants were doing—low wage service work. The result was this work was rendered even more economically, culturally, and politically invisible, a development that was immensely helpful in the further growth of the low-wage service economy and its increasing commodification of everyday life.
All papers are pre-circulated electronically to those who plan to attend the seminar in person. For a copy of the paper, e-mail Heather Radke at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 312-255-3524. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.
The Newberry Library Seminar in Labor History is
co-sponsored by the History Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University and the Labor and Working Class History Association
Scholl Center for
American History and Culture
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago IL 60610
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