Immigration

Immigration

Immigration

Immigration

Synopsis

Immigration is a topic on the minds of a large portion of Americans. In 2006, a series of large marches and political debates shook the nation to the core. With the 2008 presidential campaign under way, the controversy is alive and well. However, it is essential to approach it in an informed, balanced fashion, and the material presented in this volume is designed to accomplish the task. To what extent are immigrants from Mexico and Central America different from their predecessors from say Italy, Poland, and Finland? Is the process of assimilation expected to be as successful today as it was a century ago? Has globalization changed the perspective of newcomers, making them remain loyal for a longer period of time to the place once called home? In what way is the Spanish language helping or impeding that assimilation?

This volume features the most significant articles including peer-review essays, interviews, and reviews to bring together the best scholarship on the topic. Ten signed articles, essays, and interviews are included in the volume. Also featured is an introduction by Ilan Stavans, one of the foremost authorities on Latino culture, to provide historical background and cultural context; and suggestions for further reading to aid students in their research.

Excerpt

The book series The Ilan Stavans Library of Latino Civilization, the first of its kind, is devoted to exploring all the facets of Hispanic civilization in the United States, with its ramifications in the Americas, the Caribbean Basin, and the Iberian Peninsula. The objective is to showcase its richness and complexity from a myriad perspective. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Latino minority is the largest in the nation. It is also the fifth largest concentration of Hispanics in the globe.

Out of every seven Americans, one traces his or her roots to the Spanishspeaking world. Mexicans make up about 65 percent of the minority. Other major national groups are Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Ecuadorians, Guatemalans, Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and Colombians. They are either immigrants, descendants of immigrants, or dwellers in a territory (Puerto Rico, the Southwest) having a conflicted relationship with the mainland United States. As such, they are the perfect example of encuentro: an encounter with different social and political modes, an encounter with a new language, an encounter with a different way of dreaming.

The series is a response to the limited resources available and the abundance of stereotypes, which are a sign of lazy thinking. The 20th-century Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset, author of The Revolt of the Masses, once said: “By speaking, by thinking, we undertake to clarify things, and that forces us to exacerbate them, dislocate them, schematize them. Every concept is in itself an exaggeration.” The purpose of the series is not to clarify but to complicate our understanding of Latinos. Do so many individuals from different national, geographic, economic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds coalesce as an integrated whole? Is there an unum in the pluribus?

Baruch Spinoza believed that everything in the universe wants to be preserved in its present form: a tree wants to be a tree, and a dog a dog. Latinos in the United States want to be Latinos in the United States—no easy task, and therefore an intriguing one to explore. Each volume of the series contains an assortment of approximately a dozen articles, essays, and interviews never gathered together before. The authors are scholars, writers, journalists, and specialists in their respective fields. The selection is followed by a bibliography of . . .

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