Vanesa Ribas – The Meanings of “Moyo”: Shop Floor Racial Talk as Symbolic Boundary-Making among Latina/o Migrant and African American Workers in the American South

[podcast]http://ccis.ucsd.edu/audio/Research%20Seminar_Vanesa%20Ribas.mp3[/podcast]

Seminar to be held on Monday, June 3rd in ERC 115 at 12:00 pm.

This presentation draws on ethnographic research primarily conducted while I was employed as a regular production worker in a North Carolina meatpacking plant for sixteen months between 2009 and 2010. As part of a larger project that attempts to explain the character of social relations between Latina/o migrants and their chief counterparts in the workplace – African Americans – I trace the categories and meanings of shop floor racial talk with parallel attention to the diverse ethnoracial panoramas in Latina/o migrants’ origin countries. How are the terms moyo, negro, and moreno used at work? What does this suggest about how Latinos view African Americans as a group? And how does this language relate to pre-migration ideas about blacks and blackness? I find that the use of ethnoracial forms of identification is much more prevalent among Latina/os towards African Americans than the converse, and I examine the features of one particularly salient designation of African Americans as moyos, a term whose valence is indefinite and situational, but frequently acquires pejorative significance. I trace the transnational origins of this identification, finding that its adaptation and propagation occurs within the transnational spaces that Latina/o migrants occupy. Ultimately, I argue that Latinos’ deployment of bold symbolic boundaries expresses racialized resentment, reflecting and reinforcing their perception that they are the most oppressively exploited workers and that African Americans occupy a privileged position in the workplace.

Vanesa Ribas received her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012. Her research has appeared in the American Sociological Review (with Neal Caren and Raj Ghoshal), Social Science and Medicine (with Janette Dill and Philip Cohen), Teaching Sociology (with Raj Ghoshal et al.), and is forthcoming in Sociological Perspectives. She is working on a book based on her study of Latina/o migration to the American South, labor exploitation, and race relations in a large meatpacking plant.

James F. Hollifield – Immigration and the ‘Republican’ Model in France

[podcast]http://ccis.ucsd.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Research-Seminar_Jim-Hollifield.mp3[/podcast]

Seminar to be held on Wednesday, May 22nd in ERC 115 at 12:00 pm.

To what extent is the French republican model still viable in debates over immigration and integration in France today?  Viewed from the perspective of the last thirty years, which saw the rise of a powerful anti-immigrant political movement, the Front National, one might conclude that immigration in postwar France has been raging out of control.  Yet despite the remarkable showing of the Front National in recent presidential elections, France has remained a relatively open immigration country, a tradition which dates from the middle of the nineteenth century.  Annual levels of immigration have not fallen much below 100,000 since the early 1950s, the right to asylum has been respected by every postwar government, and France has maintained what is arguably the most liberal naturalization policy in Western Europe.  How can we explain this continuity in the midst of crisis?  I argue that the continuity in the principles and outcomes of French immigration policy is closely linked to the power of the republican model and to the limits of control that are a function of rights-based politics.

James F. Hollifield is Ora Nixon Arnold Professor of International Political Economy in the Department of Political Science and Director of the Tower Center for Political Studies at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He received his PhD in political science from Duke University in 1985. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, he has worked as a consultant for a variety of governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and has published widely on international political and economic issues, including Immigrants, Markets, and States (Harvard UP, 1992), L’immigration et l’Etat Nation (L’Harmattan, 1997), Controlling Immigration (Stanford UP, 2nd Edition, 2004), Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines (Routledge, 2nd Edition, 2008), and International Political Economy: History, Theory and Policy (Cambridge UP, forthcoming) along with numerous other books and scientific articles. Hollifield has been the recipient of grants from private corporations and foundations as well as government agencies, including the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Social Science Research Council, the Sloan Foundation, the Raytheon Company, and the National Science Foundation. His current research looks at the rapidly evolving relationship between trade, migration, and development with a special focus on human capital and how states use migration for strategic gains. He sits on several boards and is currently Chairman of the Owens Foundation and the Dallas County Historical Foundation, the governing body of the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.