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Why the U.S. is not a 'nation of immigrants': from 100% Americanism to the...
Tue 6 December 2016, 18:00 – 19:00 GMT
The Centre for American Studies at the University of Kent invites you to an open lecture by guest speaker Professor Maria Lauret of the University of Sussex.
Whereas in 1915 Theodore Roosevelt could proclaim with great conviction that there was no room in the United States for hyphenated (‘ethnic’) Americans, today it is common for Americans to identify precisely as people whose roots lay elsewhere and who are proud of their ethnic heritage. And whilst in recent years undocumented immigration is perceived to have reached crisis point, the US continues to project itself as a “nation of immigrants.”
These reversals and contradictions in American political discourse deserve further scrutiny. In an historical survey that moves from the Americanization movement of a hundred years ago to via John F. Kennedy’s Cold War immigration policy to the birth of multiculturalism in the 1970s and the War on Terror today, a change from the inculcation of ethnic shame to the proclamation of ethnic pride is charted, revealing both the long-term and paradoxical effects of Americanization as a programme of social engineering and the ideological work that the “nation of immigrants” concept continues to perform for American national identity today.