Elizabeth Rubio

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Irvine, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9589

Approve Date

April 13, 2018

Project Title

Rubio, Elizabeth H., U. of California, Irviine, CA - To aid research on 'Undocumented in Multicultural America: Racialization, Solidarity and Place in Korean American Immigrant Rights Organizing,' supervised by Dr. Eleana Kim

Preliminary abstract: This project examines how Korean American (KA) immigrant rights organizers in Los Angeles (LA) and New York City (NYC) experience and negotiate dynamics of difference and inclusion across race/ethnicity, class, generation, ideology and place. In the past 20 years, a rapidly growing undocumented KA community has contributed to the emergence of socially progressive KA immigrant rights organizations, which has in turn revealed tensions within KA organizing networks and racialized frictions in the larger immigrant rights movement. Through 12 months of ethnographic research with grassroots KA immigrant rights organizers in LA and NYC, I will investigate how these organizers embody and refuse Asian American enlistment as model minorities as they navigate solidarity building with Latino activists, conservative KAs and progressive KA activist counterparts working across the U.S. This research aims to answer questions four questions: What does KA immigrant rights organizing reveal about emergent anthropological debates on refusal, resistance, and dominance?; How do KA activists negotiate ‘interracial solidarity’ given their contentious position vis-à-vis other racialized minorities in the U.S?; In what ways does the rapidly growing population of undocumented KAs unsettle how KA politics are practiced and collective identities are performed; and, how does place inform how KA immigrant rights activists imagine and build socially just futures in an age of increasing digital connectivity.