Presentation Description: Donald Trump’s presidency gave voice to extreme anti-immigrant sentiments among millions in the United States and elsewhere in the West. However, the anxiety about immigrants and the steadfast resolve to keep out the unwanted intruders have been dominant for decades. Migrants have been portrayed as an army of faceless invaders, men and women and children coming to us on overpacked boats, or the multitudes sneaking through our borders in the dark of the nights. They are the invisible aliens in our midst. Migrant Narratives is an attempt to make visible the invisible, and unpacking the dominant public perception and paradigm by sharing the life stories of those we have grown to fear.
Presenter Bio: Behzad Yaghmaian is an Iranian-born author and a Professor of Political Economy at Ramapo College of New Jersey. Yaghmainan’s books include Embracing the Infidel: Stories of Muslim Migrants on the Journey West (Penguin Random House, 2006), and Accidental Capitalist: A People’s Story of Modern China (Pluto Books, 2012). Kirkus Reviews called Embracing the Infidel, “An El Norte or Grapes of Wrath for the Muslim world.” The San Francisco Chronicle called Yaghmaian “a masterful storyteller.” Publishers Weekly called him “a modern Alexis de Tocqueville.” Yaghmaian’s op-ed pieces have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, Foreign Affairs, and Aljazeera. He has had many appearances on CNN, CNN International, Book TV, Democracy Now, NPR’s Morning Edition, WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, various Public Radio stations, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and radio programs in England and Italy.
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Co-sponsored by: The Roukema Center for International Education, the George T. Potter Library, and the Ramapo Provost Office.