Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: General Anthropology Division
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Immigration/Migration/Citizenship
Secondary Theme: Resilience
Children and youth’s mobility is a defining feature of the world we currently live in. While the number of studies on children and young people’s migration is increasing, there are still very few ethnographic studies that have focused on how children, youth and their families adapt, resist, imagine and transform their lives when faced with migration (Olwig 2012). Macro-policies as well as micro contexts of reception illustrate the different thoughts and assumptions politicians, academics, and people have over how immigrants live their lives. This panel is comprised of research on children, youth and families and how they adapt, create, resist, imagine and navigate their cultural worlds as migrants themselves or as sons and daughters of migrants in different geographic regions in the US. From New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit to Bangladesh, China, Brazil, West Africa children and families are reimagining their experiences as immigrants. It also considers the resilience of immigrant parents’ traditional cultural models in response to children’s transitions from home into U.S. early care and education settings. In this panel we look at youth and children as protagonists of their own mobility experience, both real and imagined, as children and youth are at the nexus of both rupture and mobility within their families. The focus of the panel is on adaptation and resilience, reflecting both the imaginaries of their home countries as well as of their newfound societies. Scholars now recognize that many contemporary migrants and their predecessors maintain various kinds of ties to their homelands at the same time that they are living in the countries that receive them. Contrastingly, some children have little knowledge of their migration histories. Increasingly, social life takes place across borders, even as the political and cultural salience of nation-state boundaries remains strong. This panel considers questions such as: How do families and children change in the course of this mobility? What narratives are told and what motifs are distilled as essential? How does the imagination emerge in the layering of migratory ethnography? Papers in this panel draw upon the specificity of ethnographic research to detail case studies of children and youth's mobility and separation from families, as well as the different ways in which imaginaries, resilience and adaptation manifest themselves.