Chai Wai Series: Migrants, Immigrants & Refugees

The Chai Wai Series Launches with “Migrants, Immigrants and Refugees”

by Katrina Spencer


“What does it take for someone to leave what they’ve worked for their whole life?” he asked. In one of the more provocative statements made at the International and Area Studies Library’s (IASL) first Chai Wai event, Ricardo Díaz of the C-U Immigration Forum boldly affirmed that “Mexicans don’t want to come to the USA,” openly challenging a common premonition existing about the U.S.

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The Amish of Illinois

Think for a moment what the word “worldly” connotes in its modern usage. Maybe in there are ideas about high levels of formal education; sophistication; open-mindedness about cultures, languages, and ways different from our own. All in all, these can be seen as quite positive attributes, right? In some circles, one might fondly refer to a well-traveled and/or multilingual friend as “worldly,” perhaps with a slight air of envy at their mobility and adventuresome lifestyle. Read the rest.

Transatlantic Relatives: “The Hood Much Closer to the Continent I’m From”

Hip-hop is an art form that shares similarities with West African culture, for example the rappers and griots. Every hip-hop artist shares a story through verse commonly referred to as rap, and the same can be said about the griot who conveys history through poetry. The use of instruments is also an important aspect of these cultures because it allows for the listener to retain information differently, whether through voice or music. Read the rest.

Faces (Phases) of Iraq: Canvas Truths vs. Plasma Screen Blues

On Monday, September 15, 2014 I gave a presentation entitled “Sundus Abdul Hadi and the Narcicyst: From Weapons of Mass Destruction to Instruments of Creation.” The presentation dealt with two married artists of Arab descent who use their artistic mediums of expression to defy and transform the image of traditional marriage and hip-hop. Read the rest.