Mar 072013
To Be an Immigrant

American Robotnik tackles the experience of immigration in a spontaneous, subjective fashion. More systematic treatments of the issue help organize my thinking. In her book To Be an Immigrant Kay Deaux outlines immigrant experience from the perspective of social psychology. Assuming that “immigration is both a dynamic and a symbolic process rather than a discrete event,” Deaux proposes a multi-level framework for analysis: Macro: political, demographic, and social factors that define the climate of immigration in a society, including policies, legislation, and institutions, as well as social representations (shared […] Continue reading >

Feb 112012
Accents in Both Languages

There are many nostalgic objects on immigrant bookshelves, and still the narrative as a whole is not that of nostalgia. Diasporic souvenirs do not reconstruct the narrative of one’s roots but rather tell the story of exile. They are not symbols but transitional objects that reflect multiple belonging. The former country of origin turns into an exotic place represented through its arts and crafts usually admired by foreign tourists. Newly collected memories of exile and acculturation shift the old cultural frameworks; [diasporic] souvenirs can no longer be interpreted within […] Continue reading >

Nov 032011
The Central European Headcount

Because American Robotnik is by a Central European in America for Central Europeans in America, I wanted to get a better sense how many people might enjoy it. How many Central Europeans are there in the United States? The answer—somewhat easier to find than the one to “How many Central Europeans does it take to screw a light bulb?”—must start with defining a Central European: s/he is an individual born in Central Europe, living in the United States, as an illegal alien, a legal permanent resident, or a naturalized […] Continue reading >