The US Recruited 400,000 Puerto Rican Farmworkers. This Is Their Story

CUNY-SUM – Between 1947 and 1993, a U.S. government program recruited and transported workers from Puerto Rico to fill more than 400,000 farm jobs around the continental U.S. A new book, Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire, by Professor Ismael García-Colón (College of Staten Island and The Graduate Center), describes the experiences of these Puerto Rican migrant laborers on stateside farms. Read more on the CUNY-SUM Website.


Uncovering the Mystery of the Quasicrystal

CUNY-SUM – Some solids, like table salt, are crystalline. This means they’re made of a regularly repeating pattern of atoms. Others, like glass, are amorphous, meaning their atoms are arranged at random. In the middle are curious materials called “quasicrystals.”

A new paper sheds some light on the behavior of these materials. Professor Sarang Gopalakrishnan (College of Staten Island, The Graduate Center) was an author on the study, which appears in Nature Communications. Read more on the CUNY-SUM Website.


China Is Trying to Improve Its Global Image — and Using Hollywood to Do It

CUNY SUM – A new book, Soft Power With Chinese Characteristics: China’s Campaign for Hearts and Minds, examines China’s efforts to improve its global image through film, branding, news media, and promotion of Chinese language and culture. The book was co-edited by Professor Ying Zhu (College of Staten Island), along with Kingsley Edney and Stanley Rosen.  Read more at CUNY SUM.


Zhu Co-Edits New Book

Ying Zhu, Professor of Cinema Studies in the CSI Department of Media Culture has recently co-edited, Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics: China’s Campaign for Hearts and Minds (with Stanley Rosen and Kingsley Edney, Routledge, 2019). More information is available online.

By Editor

García-Colón Publishes “Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms”

CSI Associate Professor of Anthropology Ismael García-Colón has recently published Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire: Puerto Rican Workers on U.S. Farms (University of California Press, February 2020).

A labor history and an ethnography, Colonial Migrants evokes the violence, fieldwork, food, lodging, surveillance, and coercion that these workers experienced on farms and conveys their hopes and struggles to overcome poverty. Island farmworkers encountered a unique form of prejudice and racism arising from their dual status as both U.S. citizens and as “foreign others,” and their experiences were further shaped by evolving immigration policies. Despite these challenges, many Puerto Rican farmworkers ultimately chose to settle in rural U.S. communities, contributing to the production of food and the Latinization of the U.S. farm labor force.

“Colonial Migrants at the Heart of Empire brilliantly examines the experience of Puerto Rican migrant farmworkers in the United States within an immigration regimen that categorizes them as racially inferior citizens and inefficient, expensive workers. Relying on a thick historical ethnography, it bridges the study of labor, colonialism, immigration, and race. This is scholarship at its best!”—Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America.

By Editor

Mandiberg Maps Wiki Contributors in “The Atlantic”

Michael Mandiberg has created the first maps of Wikipedia contributors for The Atlantic, revealing both reassuring and troubling patterns: high contributions across the most politically consequential battle-ground states, low contributions from a set of very religious counties in the Plains and the West, and low contributions from the predominantly Black rural South and Native American reservations. These last two absences are particularly troubling, as the maps point to a set of intersecting systems of inequality preventing people from contributing: poverty, education, Internet connectivity, and racial inequality.

Read more in The Atlantic.

By Cynthia Chris

Brim Publishes “Poor Queer Studies”

Matt Brim has recently published “Poor Queer Studies.”

Matt Brim, Associate Professor of Queer Studies and English, has written a new book titled Poor Queer Studies: Confronting Elitism in the University, published by Duke University Press (2020).

Poor Queer Studies shifts the academic field of queer studies away from its familiar sites of elite education and toward poor and working-class people, places, and pedagogies. Brim shows how queer studies also takes place beyond the halls of prestigious colleges and flagship universities: in night school; after a three-hour commute; in overflowing classrooms at no-name colleges; with no research budget; without access to decent food; with kids in tow; in a state of homelessness.

Drawing on the everyday experiences of teaching and learning queer studies at the College of Staten Island and CUNY, Brim outlines the ways the field has been driven by the material and intellectual resources of those institutions that neglect and rarely serve poor and minority students. Poor Queer Studies jumpstarts a queer-class knowledge project committed to anti-elitist and anti-racist education.

‘Imagining Queer Methods’ Tackles New Ways to Do Queer Theory

SUM-CUNY: What methods should be used to study an interdisciplinary field that defies conventional categories, both in academia and in terms of the human experience? Imagining Queer Methodsco-edited by Professor Matt Brim (College of Staten IslandThe Graduate Center) and Amin Ghaziani, looks at new approaches to research and analysis in queer studies and queer theory.  More information is available on the SUM-CUNY Website.