Second Generation & Racial Boundaries Workshop

Friday, December 9, 2011
9:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 423 ILR Conference Center
Cornell Univerity, Ithaca, NY 

Much of the contemporary debate around immigration obscures the fact that the demographic changes taking place across the United States today are driven as much or more by the children of immigrants as by immigrants themselves.  In 18.8 percent of all children under the age of eighteen in the U.S. were either first- or second-generation immigrant children; by 2009 almost one out of every four children in the United States, or 17.4 million kids, were either immigrants or the children of immigrants.  An increasing proportion of these children are second-generation immigrants who are born in the United States and are U.S. citizens: in 2009 second-generation children outnumbered first-generation children by more than six to one.

The rapidly growing number of children of immigrants in the United States is the focus of this workshop.   The workshop’s panels will focus on three distinct aspects of the experience of the new second generation.

The first is the experience of racialization and group identity.  The post-1965 wave of immigrants, many of them arriving from Latin America and Asia, complicated a country whose race relations were largely defined by the black/white relations.   As their children grow up in the United States, the nation’s demographics are changing rapidly; for many, their peer group is no longer majority non-Hispanic white.   How are race and ethnicity playing out for this second generation?  A second is social transitions: how the second generation navigates shifts in language use, network formation, family and language.  Is the second generation replicating their parents’ social patterns, adopting ‘American’ norms, or engaging in new hybrid social forms?  Do children learn from parents, or parents from children?  Finally, the third focus of the workshop will be the second generation’s political incorporation.  How does their parents’ legal status shape their own views of citizenship?  How are the younger adults among the second generation conceiving their engagement with politics?   How is their politics shaped by their experience and their parents’ experience as immigrants?


Leisy Abrego, Professor of Chicana/o Studies, César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, UCLA
Ilana Redstone Akresh, Professor of Sociology, University of Illinois at Uranana-Champaign
Ana Aparicio, Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Northwestern University
Louis DeSipio, Chair, Chicano/Latino Studies, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine
Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Professor of Language and Literacy, Society and Culture, University of California, Berkeley
Jennifer Glick, Professor of Sociology, School Social Family Dynamics, Arizona State University
Tomas Jimenez, Professor of Sociology, Stanford University
Leland Saito, Professor of Sociology and American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California
Bonnie Urciuoli, Professor of Anthropology, Hamilton College
Ali Valenzuela, Professor of American Politics, Princeton University
Ana Celia Zentella, Emerita, Department of Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego


ISS Immigration Theme Project


Amanda Armenta: ISS Immigration Research Associate
Derek Chang: ISS Immigration Team Member; Director, Asian American Studies; Assoc. Professor, HistorySponsor
Els de Graauw: ISS Immigration Research Associate, Cornell University, and Assistant Professor, Dept. of Political Science, Baruch College, CUNY
Michael Jones-Correa: ISS Immigration Team Leader and Professor, Dept. of Government
Mary Katzenstein: ISS Immigration Team Member; Director, American Studies Program; and Stephen & Evalyn Milman Professor of American Studies, Dept. of Government and FGSS
Sharon Sassler: ISS Immigration Team Member and Professor of Policy Analysis and Management
Vilma Santiago-Irizarry: ISS Immigration Team Member; Professor of Anthropology


Workshop location: 423 ILR Conference Center
Speakers’ lodging: Statler Hotel, 130 Statler Drive, Cornell university, Ithaca, NY 14853-6901 (Directions)
Accessibility accommodation:

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