Dreams for Our Children: Immigrant Letters to the Future

Omotayo Banjo's picture
Call for Papers
September 20, 2020
Ohio, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Borderlands, Humanities, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Race / Ethnic Studies

This is a curated antholology dedicated to future generations of immigrants in host countries different from their ancestral homes. 

The political narrative of immigration trends is that people are fleeing their countries to exploit other countries’ resources. Immigrants are generally depicted as violent and  the cause of crime and job loss, not only in America but around the world. The criminal narrative overshadows that of the risk-taker, willing to leave what is familiar to improve the life of his or her family. The stereotype of violent behavior overshadows the violence enacted upon them by their host countries which have put many immigrants in the situations they are in today. It is well documented that immigrants, and especially undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes. In addition, while there is a general belief that immigrants migrate to “steal jobs” or work, research has shown family to be a significant reason for immigrating. In America, their efforts are well worth it, as research has also shown that the children of immigrants tend to achieve much more success than their parents and their categorical racial counterparts. This, of course is not an indication of unique intellectual proclivity, but could be telling of the dreams that foreign-born citizens share for their children. This book is for them.

There are many cultural adjustments and identity negotiations one makes as the first of their generation to grow up somewhere different from their ancestral/home land. Though a  slightly different experience, children born to immigrant parents in a host country also have to navigate a new, hybrid world.  While at one point a child of an immigrant may wrestle with shame or guilt regarding the acceptance of their parents’ culture, they at some point may reach a stage of identity development that makes peace with the hybridity of the cultural identity. Nonetheless, the sense of being both cultures, yet belonging to neither place can be a challenge. This book intends to gather aspirations and advice for children of immigrants based on their personal experiences. The book will be formatted as letters to their children, emphasizing the lessons they want to share with children born in their host country. Also, this book will contain letters from both foreign-born nationals (first- generation immigrants who came in their late teens or later) and their children (second-generation). The aim of this project is to record the narratives of immigrants across two generations around the world, and encapsulate these stories and their lessons for future generations.

Letters should be written in first person narrative using personal reflection and should be a minimum of 1000 words and maximum 3000 words. Letters from fathers or both parents are strongly encouraged. If interested, and for more information please email banjooo@uc.edu with the subject line: Dreams for Our Children. Full drafts of your letter should be submitted by September 15th, however, submission deadlines can be negotiated, if more time is needed and intent to submit is expressed before the deadline.

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