Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales and Leisy J. Abrego

Feb 9, 2023

We Are Not Dreamers

Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States

New Books Network 2022

Today’s book is: We Are Not Dreamers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States. The “Dreamer narrative” celebrates the educational and economic achievements of undocumented youth to justify a path to citizenship, and has promoted the idea that access to citizenship and rights should be granted only to a select group of “deserving” immigrants. The contributors to We Are Not Dreamers—themselves currently or formerly undocumented—counter the Dreamer narrative by grappling with the nuances of undocumented life in this country. Theorizing those excluded from the Dreamer category—academically struggling students, transgender activists, and queer undocumented parents—the contributors call for an expansive articulation of immigrant rights and justice that recognizes the full humanity of undocumented immigrants while granting full and unconditional rights.

Our guest is: Dr. Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, an Associate Professor of Leadership Studies at University of San Francisco, who is an interdisciplinary scholar of immigration and education. Her academic, activist and community work focuses on the ways undocumented young people are changing the political and legislative terrain around “illegality” and belonging in this country. Her work lies at the intersection of education, immigration, and social movements. She is the co-author of Encountering Poverty: Thinking and Acting in an Unequal World (2016, University of California Press) and co-editor of We Are Not DREAMers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States (2020, Duke University Press).

Our co-guest is: Dr. Leisy J. Abrego, who is Professor in Chicana/o and Central American Studies at the UCLA. She studies the intimate consequences of U.S. foreign and immigration policies for Central American migrants and Latinx families in the United States. She is the author Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders (Stanford University Press, 2014), and co-editor of We Are Not Dreamers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States. Her scholarship analyzing legal consciousness, illegality, and legal violence has garnered numerous awards from the Latin American Studies Association and the American Sociological Association. She dedicates much of her time to supporting and advocating for refugees and immigrants by writing editorials and pro-bono expert declarations in asylum cases.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender.

Listeners to this episode may also be interested in:

  • Negrón-Gonzales, G. (2017). Political possibilities: Lessons from the undocumented youth Movement for resistance to the Trump Administration. Anthropology and Education Quarterly. In press.
  • Negrón-Gonzales, G. (2017). Constrained inclusion: Access and persistence among undocumented community college students in California’s Central Valley. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 16(2), 105-122.
  • Negrón-Gonzales, G., Abrego, L., & Coll, K. (2016). Immigrant Latina/o youth and illegality: Challenging the politics of deservingness. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 9(3). 7-10.
  • Gonzales, R. G., Heredia, L. L. & Negrón-Gonzales, G. (2015). Untangling Plyler's legacy: Undocumented students, schools, and citizenship. Harvard Educational Review, 85(3), 318-341.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler holds a PhD in U.S. history.
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