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A Historical Analysis of “immigrant”: In the style of a Foucauldian genealogy

Sun, August 11, 12:30 to 2:10pm, New York Hilton, Floor: Second Floor, Regent


In the modern day United States, political and social zones are constantly lit up with the word immigrant. Throughout history, this word has been socially constructed such that its meaning has a variety of connotations that are constantly attached to it legally, politically, and socially. To deconstruct the historical conception of this integral word I draw on Foucauldian genealogy, a type of study proposed by philosopher and theorist Michel Foucault, to unpack the interpretations, perception, and usage of the word at each of four historical periods: pre-Industrial Revolution, during the Industrial Revolution, the 19th century, and the late 1990’s to modern day 2018. By drawing on Foucault’s concept of genealogy, which proposes interacting scholarly knowledge and the everyday memories and experiences of people in order to construct a comprehensive historical knowledge of struggles, I hope to separate this politically, socially, and legally-charged word from its popularly accepted image and disassociate it from the active stereotypes and misconceptions it perpetuates.
Keywords: history, immigrant, genealogy, social construction