In recent immigration debates, the rhetoric of crisis often upholds “pure” national identities, marginalizing immigrants under a rubric of criminality and catastrophe owing to their potential to “destroy” these national identities that ought to remain static. Examples of anti-immigrant discourse abound in our current political climate, from the recent Arizona law SB1070, which labels immigrants both as “illegal” and a threat to “safe neighborhoods,” to the ban on undocumented students in Georgia public universities on the basis of competition and supposed scarcity. Immigrant identities are further complicated by the imbrication of gender, ethnicity, and national identity; the increasing incidence of prostitution among undocumented immigrant women in Spain and public anxiety around immigrant women and “anchor babies” in the United States exemplify this notion. Similarly, literary works like We Came All the Way from Cuba so You Could Dress Like This? by Achy Obejas and L’Últim patriarca by Najat el Hachmi attest to the “crisis” immigrants experience when established gender norms crumble in the United States and Spain respectively. These social phenomena and related texts illustrate how gender constitutes a vital dimension of the constellation of identity and structures how subjects are inscribed into the social fabric.
This panel examines how models of collapse and change work for and against normative notions of gendered and national identities. How does gender complicate formulations of national identity with regard to immigration? How is gender represented in cultural production that engages the phenomenon of migration in Latin America, the Latino Caribbean, and Spain?
Department of Spanish and Portuguese
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