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American Arrivals

Anthropology Engages the New Immigration

Edited by Nancy Foner

Soaring immigration to the United States in the past few decades has reawakened both popular and scholarly interest in this important issue. American Arrivals highlights the important insights of anthropology for the field of migration studies. The authors reflect on anthropological approaches, methods, and theories and seek to develop a research program for the future. Placing contemporary immigration in the perspective of globalization and transnational social fields, their essays demonstrate the importance of gender and urban contexts to understanding immigrants’ lives.

Addressing issues of health care, education, and cultural values and practices among Mexicans, Haitians, Somalis, Afghans, and other newcomers to the United States, the authors illuminate the complex ways that immigrants adapt to life in a new land and raise serious questions about the meaning and political uses of ideas about cultural difference.

2003. 384 pp., 3 black-and-white illustrations, 5 tables, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Caroline Brettell, Leo Chavez, Nancy Foner, Nina Glick-Schiller, Jennifer Hirsch, Patricia Pessar, Richard Shweder, Alex Stepick, Carol Dutton Stepick, Marcelo Suarez-Orozco

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“Anthropology has long had much to bring to the field of migration studies, but it has often been…overshadowed by sociology, economics, political science, and sometimes geography. This volume…will serve to bring anthropological insights squarely into migration studies. ”
—Dr. Steven Vertovec, Oxford University

“These excellent essays touch on a crucial point that every scholar should think about-the politics of doing research and how research is used (and misused) to advance political agendas….This is a major contribution from anthropology that should be recognized by everyone interested in the field of immigration. ”
—Dr. Cecilia Menjívar, Arizona State University

“An excellent overview of the perspectives, methods, and findings of [cultural anthropology]….In summary, this volume is a superior resource for both better understanding of the practical issues (health, education, social work, and the like) and as a review of the scholarly state of the art in anthropology of the new immigration.”
—Dr. Josiah McC. Heyman, Great Plains Research

“[An] outstanding collection …. As a book that works on multiple levels, it offers a strong conceptual overview of the anthropology of migration for students. The collection also serves more advanced scholars who wish to critically contemplate this field…”
—Hinda Seif, International Migration Review, Vol. 39, No. 1 (Spring 2005)

“[This] book provides a comprehensive and clear overview of the main topics concerning contemporary migration scholars…. [It] is successful in arguing for the importance of ethnography in migration research as well as in proposing a stimulating agenda for future research. Such research will push the boundaries of anthropology…”
—Elisabetta Zontini, Ethnic & Racial Studies Vol. 28, no. 4 (2005)

“Immigration is a topic fraught with challenges for any researcher or journalist. ….In this collection of essays, cultural anthropology demonstrates again that it has much to offer in our quest to understand phenomena such as spatial and social mobility and the multiplicity of changes produced in both the sending and receiving regions. These articles result from an advanced research seminar organized by the School of American Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which brought together some of the most noted cultural anthropologists working on immigration.”
—Victor M. Rodriguez, Journal of American Ethnic History (Winter/Spring 2006)

“American Arrivals strongly highlights the contributions that anthropologists have made in the area of immigration studies. Furthermore, the different authors bring to light the important role that ethnology has played in exploring immigrant issues.”
—Cindyann Rampersad, Immigrants & Minorities Vol. 24, no. 2 (July 2006)


  1. Anthropology and Contemporary Immigration to the United States: Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going
    Nancy Foner
  2. Right Moves? Immigration, Globalization, Utopia and Dystopia
    Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco
  3. Anthropology and the Engendering of Migration Studies
    Patricia R. Pessar
  4. The Centrality of Ethnography in the Study of Transnational Migration: Seeing the Wetlands Instead of the Swamp
    Nina Glick Schiller
  5. Becoming American: Immigration, Identity, Intergenerational Relations, and Academic Orientation
    Alex Stepick and Carol Dutton Stepick
  6. Bringing the City Back In: Cities as Contexts for Immigrant Incorporation
    Caroline B. Brettell
  7. Immigration and Medical Anthropology
    Leo R. Chavez
  8. Anthropologists, Migrants, and Health Research: Confronting Cultural Appropriateness
    Jennifer S. Hirsch
  9. The Moral Challenge in Cultural Migration
    Richard A. Shweder

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.