The Cook Center Explores Immigration, Race, and Culture at Immigration Conference

Thursday, October 25, 2018

On October 24, 2018, the Duke University Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity hosted its annual Fall symposium, this year featuring Jean Beaman, Associate Professor of Sociology at Purdue University, and Min Zhou, Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. 

This year’s conference, “Jean Beaman’s Citizen Outsider: A Conference Exploring the Historical and Contemporary Landscape of Immigration, Race, and Culture at the Borders of the World,” featured guests from across the country, including Jason Carter, of the Carter Center, and Noel King, from NPR.

Guests discussed race and immigration policies from around the world. Through her ethnographic research in Citizen Outsider, Dr. Beaman discussed North African immigrants' alienation in France, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Dr. Zhou, using her research from The Asian American Achievement Paradox, debunked the cultural explanations for Asian American achievement in the United States.

A number of other scholars presented, including Clarence Lusane and Neeraj Kaushal. Both Lusane and Kaushal discussed shortcomings of immigration policies in the Western world. Looking primarily at the U.S. and England, they both challenged the racist anti-immigration rhetoric and its implication for economic downfall in both countries. Brexit, as Dr. Lusane pointed out, has now left  Britain in economic turmoil since they have voted to leave the European Union. 

Discussing Beaman's new book, Ph.D. student at the Sanford School of Public Policy and student panelist Ajenai Clemmons says, "Citizen Outsider excels at bringing so many disciplines and theories into conversation with one another in a way that is thoughtful yet feels natural. This book is important for different types of people for different reasons, and that caliber of relevance, along with Beaman's clarity, is what I will be striving to emulate in my own work." 

To view the photographs from the conference or to read more about Citizen Outsider and The Asian American Achievement Paradox, please visit our website.