Asad L. AsadAug 27, 2023
Engage and Evade
How Latino Immigrant Families Manage Surveillance in Everyday Life
Princeton University Press 2023
Because immigration is such a recurring-and divisive-topic in the United States, it is easy to assume that we understand what it means for an immigrant to live under the specter of surveillance and punishment. It is easy to assume, as many scholars and journalists do, that undocumented immigrants live on the run from the authorities, constantly fleeing to the margins of daily life, staying in the shadows beneath the eyes of the law. And yet, while it is certainly true that immigrants are constantly faced with mechanisms of surveillance that function as tools of societal exclusion, this only tells part of the story.
In Engage and Evade: How Latino Immigrant Families Manage Surveillance in Everyday Life (Princeton UP, 2023), Asad L. Asad show, many people with a sanctionable status cannot-and, in some cases, do not want to-evade surveilling institutions or the formal records they generate: evading the institutions that keep formal records is a luxury that most immigrants (especially those with children) cannot afford. In Engage and Evade, Asad uses a wealth of interviews and ethnographic observations collected in Dallas County, Texas, bolstered and contextualized by original analyses of national survey data, to explore whether, how, and why immigrants engage with surveilling institutions. Presenting the stories of immigrants living in mixed-status families in which at least two members of the household have different legal statuses, and focusing especially on the experiences of immigrant parents, Asad argues that engagement with such institutions stems as much from hope for societal inclusion as it does from fear of exclusion. By paying attention to the ways in which immigrants make sense of, pursue, and use the records that result from these engagements, Asad reveals a variety of ways these individuals reinforce or resist their sanctionable status through the state's own surveillance.
Kendall Dinniene is a PhD candidate in English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Their dissertation will examine how American fiction variously affirms, complicates, and resists dominant notions of fatness, and reveals how these notions are intertwined with and produce ideas about race, gender, sexuality, health, (dis)ability, criminality, and national identity. Their work relies upon queer theory, crip theory, Black feminism, and fat studies scholarship alongside literary criticism to argue that how we understand fatness is crucial to the way we understand (and make) our world.