The Transnational Experience: Neither from here, nor from there

by Catherine Angst

Mellon Visiting Professor Jill Anderson teaches Duke students about the complexities of the migration story in the Americas.


It’s mid-morning on East Campus and Professor Anderson’s Immigrants in Exile course is a flurry of activity. Students’ hands shoot up as they engage their classmates on their recent reading assignment by Chicana cultural theorist, Gloria Anzaldúa.


“Our immigration system is broken,” Anderson explains to the class. “We haven’t been able to resolve it because it’s this deep conflict that goes back generations. It goes back to the creation of this country and the notion of nation states around the globe. It’s not that simple at all. You cannot reduce it to a tweet.” Anderson explains to the class. Anderson is teaching two special topics courses this semester, Immigrants in Exile (LATAMER 390) and Education and Deportation (LATAMER 590S).


Anderson has always had one foot in the academy and one foot in social justice. She began investigating transnationalism during her graduate studies at the University of Texas in Austin. She holds a Ph.D. in English with a focus on U.S. and Mexican-American literature. She moved to Mexico City ten years ago while working on her dissertation.


In Mexico City, Anderson volunteered at a Quaker guesthouse, the Casa de los Amigos, on community programs for social justice, environmental, and economic justice, and migration. Her community activist work led her to a post-doctoral project at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). “I wanted to do a project bridging the theoretical transnationalism work I had done in my doctorate with my activist-oriented ethnographic work, on the lived reality of being transnational,” said Anderson. The UNAM project resulted in a book project, Los Otros Dreamers, which Anderson co-authored with Nin Solis.


During her research for Los Otros Dreamers, Anderson connected with a community of young Mexicans who had been raised in the United States yet had been deported or forced to return to Mexico. The group expressed conflict with their duel-identities and spoke of the feeling of “ni de aquí, ni de allí” which translates to “neither from here, nor from there.”

This fracture of identities highlights the human costs of migration management that Anderson talks about in her courses. “One of my goals for these courses,” she said, “is that students hear, respond, and listen to people that are a part of this new diaspora that has been created post-deportation and return in this current moment in our history.”


Jill Anderson is visiting Duke University this semester through the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies Mellon Visiting Professor program. After this semester, she’ll return to Mexico City to work with Otros Dreams en Acción, a binational grassroots organization that advocates for Mexicans affected by deportation, the threat of deportation, or the deportation of a family member.

U.S. Policy in Latin America – Fall 2017

Course number: PUBPOL 590

Course attributes:

Course description:

To the extent possible, this course will examine the major elements of U.S. policy toward the hemisphere as expressed in the planning documents, policy pronouncements, and legislation of the U.S. government.  We will attempt to answer the question: what did U.S. policy makers say they were hoping to accomplish in the region and how successful were they? The course will also introduce students to the interagency process and the range of departments, agencies, and offices with an influence on policy formulation and implementation.  Finally, the course will examine in some detail key policy prescriptions: the formula for economic modernization know as “the Washington Consensus,” Plan Colombia and the War on Drugs, the Summit of the Americas process, and efforts to achieve hemispheric free trade.  The course will also consider the significance of the Obama Administration’s decision to restore relations with Cuba, the much-discussed “pivot to Asia”, and the early signals of both change and continuity coming from the new Trump administration.

With the end of the Cold War, U.S. foreign policy toward Latin America was recast. The global Manichaeism of the previous era dissolved with the break-up of the Soviet Union.  For the United States, it became possible to see the Western Hemisphere in a new light.  Absent any real ideological challenges or conventional security threats, U.S. policy toward the region reflected new priorities: specifically a determination to help the nations of the region consolidate and extend political gains, to encourage the overhaul of the region’s always vulnerable economies through structural reform and free trade, to promote regional integration, and fight drug trafficking.

The underlying assumption fueling this policy evolution was that by strengthening representative democracy, spurring development and initiating a process of regional economic integration with democratically elected governments, the interests of all of the countries of the region, including those of the United States, would be advanced.  In the nearly 16 years since 9/11, new factors have arisen which forced the United States to reassess its approach in the region. Illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and drug-related violence have become perennial irritants in our relations with the hemisphere as well as fodder in our domestic political debate, especially in connection with Mexico.

Anti-U.S. populism, particularly in the Andean region, surged and more recently receded. Brazil emerged as the most influential political nation in South America, but recently mired in an economic downturn is struggling with a corruption scandal of historic proportions.  Extra-regional actors, like China, arrived and altered the historically comfortable position of the United States. All of this happened precisely at a moment when the Western Hemisphere has arguably become both more independent of the U.S. than it has ever been, but also more economically important.  Sixteen years into the new millennium, it is now possible to consider the degree to which U.S. policy in Latin America since the end of the Cold War has been effective.

Instructor biography:

Ambassador Patrick Duddy is the Semans International Visiting Professor in Duke University’s Office of Global Affairs and serves as a senior advisor for Global Strategy. He is also director of Duke University’s Center for Latin American and Caribbean studies. He teaches in both the Fuqua School of Business and the Sanford School of Public Policy. Before joining the Duke faculty, Ambassador Duddy served as a U.S. diplomat for nearly thirty years.  At his retirement from the U.S. Foreign Service, he was one of the Department of State’s most senior Latin American specialists with exceptionally broad experience in trade, energy, public affairs and crisis management. From 2007 to 2010 he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for both President Bush and President Obama.

Prior to his assignment to Venezuela, Ambassador Duddy was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (DAS) for the Western Hemisphere. In that capacity, he was directly responsible for the Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination, which included the hemispheric energy portfolio, as well for the Offices of Brazil/ Southern Cone Affairs and of Caribbean Affairs.

As U.S. Consul General in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Ambassador Duddy was the ranking American official in the world’s fourth largest city and directed the largest U.S. consulate general in the western hemisphere.   In San Paulo, Duddy served as the senior USG liaison to one of the most dynamic and sophisticated business communities in the world and as a board member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Sao Paulo, the largest American Chamber in the world outside the U.S.  He also served as the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia.

Prior to his assignment in Brazil, Duddy served in a variety of positions around the hemisphere and in Washington including senior positions at the U.S. embassies in Bolivia and Panama. Earlier in his career, he also served in U.S. embassies in Paraguay, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Chile.

Duddy has served as U.S. head of delegation to international conferences on counter-narcotics, energy, and assistance for Haiti.  He has spoken to a wide range of private sector groups, world affairs councils, NGOs, and universities both in the United States and in Latin America.  He has taught at the National War College in Washington, D.C. and lectured at the Foreign Service Institute of the Department State.  He has published op-ed columns on U.S. foreign and trade policy in English, Spanish and Portuguese and been interviewed by NPR, the BBC, and the Voice of America among others.  Duddy is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award.  In May of 2012, Duddy was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree by Husson University. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

Racial Justice in the 20th Century United States and South Africa – Fall 2017

Course numbers: AAAS 346S, HISTORY 396S, ICS 351S, POLSCI 336S, PUBPOL 326S

Course attributes: CCI, R, W, CZ, SS

Course description:

In 1966, Robert Kennedy gave a speech to thousands of University of Cape Town students.  He began with something of a history lesson.  “I came here because of my deep interest and affection for a land settled by the Dutch in the mid-seventeenth century, then taken over by the British, and at last independent; a land in which the native inhabitants were at first subdued, but relations with whom remain a problem to this day; a land which defined itself on hostile frontier; a land which has tamed rich natural resources through the energetic application of modern technology; a land which once imported slaves, and now must struggle to wipe out the last traces of that former bondage.”  Kennedy paused before delivering the punch-line – a punch-line that drew laughter of self-recognition.  “I refer, of course, to the United States of America,” Kennedy concluded.

Scholars, pundits, and historical actors have long drawn parallels between the United States and South Africa – two countries founded on the premises of racial inequality.  In this course, we will explore the machinations of race from the quickening of industrial development to the present.  We will consider the benefits and pitfalls of thinking comparatively, as well as cover such topics as segregation, transatlantic religious and cultural exchanges, living apartheid and Jim Crow, struggles for liberation, the American anti-apartheid movement, memory and the struggles for social change, and the notion of “post-racial societies.”

Professor biography:

Professor Shapiro studies American social and southern history, as well as South African history. She is now engaged in three distinct projects. The first consists of a biography of Archbishop Walter Khotso Makhulu, archbishop of Central Africa between 1980 and 2000.  A graduate of the same seminary and a direct contemporary of Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who served as Archbishop of Cape Town,

Second, explores South Africa’s apartheid-era emigration policy and its relationship to notions of citizenship and state formation, as well as the ways in which passports and other kinds of travel documents formed part of the oppressive apparatus of the successive National Party governments.

Third, Professor Shapiro is researching the transnational careers of seven influential South African medics who came to North Carolina in the 1950s and ‘60s to work at Duke and UNC, Chapel Hill. Primarily epidemiologists and family and community medicine doctors, this cohort adopted a “social medicine” approach. These pioneering doctors generally left South Africa when the National Party introduced apartheid in the late 1940s/1950s. Several ended up in North Carolina, where they had long and illustrious careers.


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