Seven Wofford College students, faculty and alumni will participate in and present research on topics involving immigration this Friday and Saturday as part of the fourth annual Southeastern Immigration Studies Association (SEISA) Conference in Greenville.
This year’s conference theme is: “Migrants, Labor and Activism: Pasts, Presents and Futures.” It’s being co-hosted by Wofford and the University of South Carolina Upstate’s El Centro initiative. The conference will be held at USC Upstate’s Greenville campus.
“The SEISA conference provides a space to bring awareness, knowledge and understanding about the many issues that not only concern Latinx immigrants, but us all,” says Dr. Begoña Caballero-García, Wofford associate professor of Spanish. “The only way to combat stereotypes and bias, which we all have, is by being informed and getting to know people different from you.”
Caballero-García and Wofford’s Dr. Ramón Galiñanes Jr., director of undergraduate research and postgraduate fellowships, are co-chairing the conference with USC Upstate’s Dr. Michele Covington and Dr. Araceli Hernández-Laroche. The co-chairs spent nine months planning the conference.
The conference’s keynote speakers are Dr. Paul Ortiz, a history professor at the University of Florida, and Dr. Yolanda Chávez Leyva, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso. Ortiz also will give a lecture at Wofford at 5 p.m. on April 13 in the Olin Theater in the Franklin W. Olin Building. His lecture’s title is “Centering Latinx and African-American Experiences in United States History.” Ortiz’s Wofford visit is sponsored by the college’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
SEISA brings interdisciplinary perspectives from scholars, practitioners and community-based advocates together to discuss pressing contemporary issues related to immigration in the Southeast.
“The SEISA Conference is a great opportunity for Wofford’s students, faculty and alumni to present and share research on a timely and an important topic, immigration in the Southeast,” says Galiñanes. “This topic is dear to so many members of our community.”
Wofford’s presenters at the conference include:
Dr. Laura Barbas Rhoden, professor of Spanish; Dr. Christine Sorrell Dinkins, Kenan Professor of Philosophy; and Noel Tufts ’23, a double major in biology and Spanish, from Charleston, South Carolina, will partner with Alianza Spartanburg volunteers Gia Quiñones and Natalia Valenzuela Swanson to discuss “Collaborative Research in Community Settings: A Candid Conversation.”
Tufts and Barbas Rhoden will discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic’s impact on immigrant communities in Spartanburg.
Dr. Begoña Caballero-García will facilitate a discussion titled “On Advocacy and the Immigrant Experience,” and another titled “On Solidarity, Policy & Immigration.”
Dr. Ramón Galiñanes will facilitate a discussion titled “On Labor and Immigrants.”
Dr. Jessica Rachel Himmelstein ’10 will discuss “Health Care Spending and Use Among Children Whose Parents’ Preferred Language is Spanish.”
Victoria Nwankudu ’18 and Olivia Free ’22 will present with Emily Williams “Bringing Young People into the Farmworker Justice Movement.”