By Jeff McCallister
Ken Burns did not specifically have immigration on his mind when he put together his new PBS documentary on Prohibition.
But it just so happened that since immigrants played such a vital role in that period of American history, when the acclaimed filmmaker came to Ohio State to promote his newest work, it dovetailed nicely into the campus-wide Conversation on Immigration that’s taking place this year.
Warren St. John, on the other hand, intended to write a book in which immigration was a central theme. His work, Outcasts United, was required reading for incoming freshmen this year as the chosen work for First Year Experience’s Buckeye Book Community — chosen specifically to be a part of the campus-wide conversation.
And some of the most brilliant minds on a campus full of them have done research on subjects surrounding, relating to or affected by immigration.
From history to art to medicine to economics, immigration affects nearly every aspect of life, and that’s why Ohio State is uniquely well placed to raise the level of discourse by bringing students, scholars, public officials, organizations within civil society and the general public into dialogue with one another.
“You look at the Statue of Liberty, this gleaming beacon of hope that greeted immigrants coming into the country for decades, with her idealistic call for the poor, tired, huddled masses, but that’s rarely been the actual attitude in America,” said Don Hubin, professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy and organizer of the Conversations on Morality, Politics and Society (COMPAS) program of the OSU Center for Ethics and Human Values. Immigration is the first in what Hubin hopes will be a biannual series of such conversations.
The conversations will involve both the alignment of existing resources and ongoing events to focus them on the topic of immigration during the year. The events are roughly divided into three categories: Academic Core, including colloquia and major academic conferences that bookend the academic year; University Life, events sponsored by other OSU programs, including the Buckeye Book Community, Undergraduate Colloquium Series, the Wexner Center for the Arts and University Libraries; and Educational, undergraduate opportunities, including a COMPAS-related course taught by Professor Michael Neblo of Political Science.
The fall academic conference, “Immigration: What’s at Stake?” will be Oct. 20-21 at Thompson Library and the Ohio Union. It has been organized with the support of the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and will focus on core ethical, political, social and economic issues related to immigration. The conference will bring together a truly distinguished set of researchers addressing the main challenges and opportunities immigration poses in the modern world.
It will be highlighted by a keynote address from Jorge Castañeda, former foreign minister of Mexico and current Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University.
Upcoming COMPAS events
OCT. 6-27: IMPACT — Immigration Projects: Art, Culture and Tradition, a series of exhibitions, events and programs initiated by the College of Arts and Sciences Swing Space Gallery at South Campus Gateway in collaboration with the Hale Black Cultural Center, the Ohio Union and the OSU Multicultural Center with special thanks to the Somali Cultural and Research Center and the Metro School. See immigration.osu.edu/impact—immigration-projects-art-culture-and-tradition for the complete schedule.
OCT. 10: Warren St. John Keynote Lecture, sponsored by the Buckeye Book Community, 7:30 p.m., Mershon Auditorium. This lecture is ticketed, but students, staff, faculty and the campus community are all welcome to attend. Tickets are available at 120 Enarson Hall.
OCT. 20-21: COMPAS Conference: “Immigration: What’s at Stake?” Registration is not required and there is no fee for any conference events but RSVPs are requested for those who anticipate attending any of the sessions. RSVP for the conference at immigrationconference.eventbrite.com. Keynote address will be 7:30 p.m. at the Perfomance Hall in the Ohio Union.
OCT. 20-22: World Fair, A dance performance by L’A./Rachid Ouramdane, the acclaimed French choreographer of Algerian descent. Wexner Center for the Arts. Showtimes at wexarts.org/pa/index.php?eventid=5775.
OCT. 24: An Evening with Abigail Disney, discussing her PBS mini-series, Women, War and Peace. 5:30 p.m., Arena Grand Theatre.
NOV. 7: COMPAS Colloquium: “The Immigration and Absorption of Jewish Immigrants from Eastern Europe: A Model for Later Immigrant Populations?” Speaker: Hasia Diner, New York University, Hebrew and Judaic Studies; Commentators: Robin Judd, History, and Steven Fink, English; 4 p.m., 11th Floor, Thompson Library.
NOV. 18: COMPAS Colloquium: “The Looming Transition to Diversity in Western Societies: Challenge and Opportunity.” Speaker: Richard Alba, City University of New York, Sociology; 1:30 p.m., 11th Floor, Thompson Library; Organizers: Reanne Frank, Sociology, Zhenchao Qian, Sociology, and John Casterline, Sociology/Initiative in Population Research.