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Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: U.S. Immigration and Abolitionist Futures

A. Naomi Paik, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Mon, 2/3 · 4:30 pm-6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

Program in American Studies

This talk starts with the apparent “crises” over immigration in the contemporary moment, marked by three signature executive orders authorized by the Trump Administration in its first week in office: the “Muslim Ban,” the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids. By examining the long histories that have built a deeply rooted, robust foundation for these anti-immigrant attacks, the talk will discuss how the targeting of certain noncitizens is neither new, nor isolated, but reaches back to the settler colonial foundations of the United States and to the birth of immigration restrictions in the 19th century. The talk also traces the deep genealogies of sanctuary and abolitionist movements and raises the potential of combining these modes of organizing in addressing the demands to create “sanctuary everywhere” and “sanctuary for all.”

A. Naomi Paik is an associate professor of Asian American studies with appointments in the departments of gender and women’s studies and history at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She published Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II (UNC Press, 2016; winner, Best Book in History, AAAS 2018; runner-up, John Hope Franklin prize for best book in American Studies, ASA, 2017), as well as articles in Social Text, Radical History Review, Cultural Dynamics, Race & Class, e-misferica, Humanity, and the collection Guantánamo and American Empire. She is currently writing Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary (forthcoming, May 2020, University of California Press), a short book on the criminalization of immigrants in the U.S. and radical sanctuary movements.

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