Native/Immigrant/Refugee: Movements Across Contested Grounds

Beth Piatote
Native American Studies
UC Berkeley

Leti Volpp
UC Berkeley

“Native/Immigrant/Refugee: Movements Across Contested Grounds,” a conference to be held at UC Berkeley in Spring 2020, will investigate how the categories of “native,” “immigrant,” and “refugee” are by turns antonymous, overlapping, oppositional, and precarious. Each term is entangled with the others and operating in a state of flux, disrupting or securing the lives of millions. Understanding the complex nature of these categories in relationship to each other, even as the laws and policies that define them continue to shift, is the urgent and central concern of our convening. While anchored in the current moment, this project emphasizes the long history of U.S. citizenship policies, practices, and debates. The complex imbrication of the key terms, Native/Immigrant/Refugee, provides an opportunity for new scholarly interventions into an unresolved and often tense debate about the relationship between immigration studies and settler colonial and indigenous studies. Humanities scholars and research methods are central to the goals of this interdisciplinary project. Through the analytical tools of fields such as literature, cultural studies, film studies, and performance studies, this conference draws on the humanities to illuminate the costs and consequences of the regulation of borders and identities.


Photo Credit: “Dynamic Earth – Ocean Currents,” NASA Goddard Space Flight Center