Field Work: People in Motion

The University of Oregon’s Wayne Morse Center explores borders, migration, and belonging.

For the next two years, the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics at the University of Oregon will work to bring students, scholars, activists, and policymakers together to discuss issues around borders, migration, and belonging at events in Eugene and Portland.

The center selects a new theme every two years to guide the selection of scholars and fellowships and the planning of public programs. Ellen Herman, codirector of the center, says, “I can hardly think of anything more timely, in terms of the country and of the world, than migration.”

Jose Antonio Vargas, a filmmaker, journalist, and activist who has written about his own experience as an undocumented immigrant in the United States, will be leading the center’s programs during the first year of the theme. Vargas spent four weeks in Oregon in October and November, teaching and leading film screenings, lectures, and town hall conversations.

“This is not a conversation that we hope will be limited to legal advocates and policy wonks,” Herman says. “This is about how people tell stories about themselves and where they belong. It’s the human dimension of borders, migration, and belonging that we’re hoping to learn more about, to highlight, to share.”

Upcoming public programs include a lecture by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, professor of sociology and gender studies at the University of Southern California, on the gendered organization of migrant domestic work, and events in Portland and Eugene in May with Bhairavi Desai, director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. For more information about the center’s events and programs, visit waynemorsecenter.uoregon.edu.

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