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Driggs Lecture to Explore History of 'Illegal Alien'

Posted by Jenna Ray on Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013

Event Date/Time: Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 7:30 pm
Location: HFA Recital Hall

Evelyn Hu-DeHart, professor of history and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America at Brown University, will deliver the 2013 O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture in History. The lecture will take place on Monday, September 16, at 7:30 p.m. in the Humanities Fine Arts Recital Hall. Hu-DeHart’s talk is entitled “The Strange and Curious History of the ‘Illegal Alien’: The Linked Fate of Asians and Latinos in U.S. History.”

The talk links Asia, Mexico, and the United States through a focus on the historical construction of the “illegal alien” in America. According to Hu-DeHart, the label “illegal” is problematic, and the tag of “alien" has a long history that further links the fate of Asians and Latinos in the United States. She argues that this linked fate both complicates and clarifies complexities and controversies surrounding United States immigration history and the current debate over immigration reform.

Hu-DeHart has focused her professional life on “the history of people without history.” She has written two books on the Yaqui Indians and is now engaged in research on the Asian diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean. Hu-DeHart is the recipient of numerous awards, including multiple Fulbright awards, a Ford Foreign Area Fellowship, a Social Science Research Council grant, a Kellogg National Leadership Fellowship, Rockefeller Residency Fellowship in the Humanities, a Stanford University Distinguished Alumni Scholar, a lifetime achievement award from the Association for Asian American Studies, and an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer award. She received a PhD in Latin American history from the University of Texas at Austin.

Supported by the philanthropic gifts of alumni, faculty, staff, and friends, the O. Truman Driggs Distinguished Lecture in History honors the memory of O. Truman Driggs, professor of history at Morris from 1963 until 1989. Annually, the lecture brings distinguished visitors to campus to speak on topics relating to history, the liberal arts, or public affairs.

The 2013 Driggs Lecture will be streamed live at