Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A meditation on immigration "Maps"


“This poem is a meditation on immigration and on dreaming of a borderless
world. I am a daughter of immigrants and so I wanted to honor my parents and
their journey. It is dedicated to Marcelo, a great poet, a dear friend, and
someone who has suffered deeply due to our need to draw lines.”
—Yesenia Montilla


Yesenia Montilla

For Marcelo

Some maps have blue borders
like the blue of your name
or the tributary lacing of
veins running through your
father’s hands. & how the last
time I saw you, you held
me for so long I saw whole
lifetimes flooding by me
small tentacles reaching
for both our faces. I wish
maps would be without
borders & that we belonged
to no one & to everyone
at once, what a world that
would be. Or not a world
maybe we would call it
something more intrinsic
like forgiving or something
simplistic like river or dirt.
& if I were to see you
tomorrow & everyone you
came from had disappeared
I would weep with you & drown
out any black lines that this
earth allowed us to give it—
because what is a map but
a useless prison? We are all
so lost & no naming of blank
spaces can save us. & what
is a map but the delusion of
safety? The line drawn is always
in the sand & folds on itself
before we’re done making it.
& that line, there, south of
el rio, how it dares to cover
up the bodies, as though we
would forget who died there
& for what? As if we could
forget that if you spin a globe
& stop it with your finger
you’ll land it on top of someone
living, someone who was not
expecting to be crushed by thirst—

Copyright © 2017 Yesenia Montilla. Used with permission of the author.

Yesenia Montilla is the author of The Pink Box (Willow Books, 2015). She
lives in New York City.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Emerging Research Topics

    Here are the emerging topics! Over the next several weeks and into the summer as you continue your research, the topics will become more refined and/or transform into something new, depending on what you find out through the process of your investigation and the work you will be doing in the community. 

  • Space Politics (generally)
    • More specifically: Urban Art/Urban Power (i.e. activist art)
    • Reclaiming physical space, making identities visible, via murals and tagging
  • Economic Mobility of Women Migrants 
  • Investigation of integration policies 
  • How do "New Germans" communicate their needs to the government. Relational role of government and legislation pertaining to immigrants, refugees, migrants. 
  • Immigrant and migrant "border" identity, i.e. identity politics of migrant and immigrant youth (negotiating identities: generational, national, race, class, gender, etc.)
  • Language matters. How national narratives and political discourse impact perceptions of migrant communities (U.S./German comparison- political discourse of Trump and Merkel), i.e. rhetoric surrounding migrants 
  • The rise of nationalism and related to assimilation into a nation (stories of migrants related to a national narrative).
  • Power of networks. What are the networks that provide opportunities to help families and individuals navigate and transition to new country, new community. What is available, what is needed, how is the need understood?
  • Platforms for expression of individual personal identity, building trust and friendship on a local level. 
  • Comparative look at migration and the history of migration. How do cities working both locally and nationally, integrate (or not) new citizens. How does historical narratives and history of migration contribute current dynamics of nationalism, pushing against or embracing nationalist trends. 
  • Children of migrants (children who are part of the migrant streams). Advocacy and policy toward children of migrants. 
  • 2nd generation children and cultural identity (complexities/intersectionalities of being bi/tri cultural)
  • Causal factors that contribute to an individual's solid sense of identity while being immersed in multiple cultures vs. rejection of culture (identity formation research)
  • Inevitable movement away from cultural homogeneity. Hybridity and transformation of cultures. Related, how arts represents and informs this process of transformation and expressing new ways of defining a nation.
  • Social Media and community activism. Technology/serving the refugee communities. 
  • more...