Opening Thursday, May 26th, from 6PM - 7PM
This program will be held in person at the Newberry. Please register for free in advance here: https://reg.learningstream.com/reg/event_page.aspx?ek=0057-0014-d79b4d20c69c4f4a8e77d7570cd1698e
As we welcome visitors to the library, we’re continuing to closely monitor health and safety conditions related to COVID-19 in Chicago. Click here for our visitor policy: https://www.newberry.org/visit
How can we characterize an American identity in a nation with such diversity? Conflicts around identity and race reveal that many Americans have a deep investment in drawing boundaries around national belonging. Our current cultural and political moment feels fragile, unstable, even dangerous to some, while others see opportunities to imagine American identity anew.
The history of this particularly fraught time in our national life dates back centuries. Though the United States often has been described as a nation of immigrants or a land of opportunity, the realities about who can define themselves as American—and who gets to decide—always have been more complicated than prevailing national myths about inclusion.
In this installment of “Conversations at the Newberry,” two historians, Kathleen Belew and Erika Lee, share their research on the long histories of American identity, offering fresh perspectives on the forces that seek to expand or narrow understandings of what it means to be American.
Kathleen Belew is Assistant Professor of US History at the University of Chicago.
Erika Lee is director of the Immigration History Research Center, Regents Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History at the University of Minnesota.
“Conversations at the Newberry” are generously sponsored by Sue and Melvin Gray.