Author: Kathryn Christiansen
A Disappointing Day
| December 18, 2010 | 1:35 pm | Uncategorized | No comments

It’s disappointing to see that the DREAM Act fell five votes short today. While its future in Congress is uncertain, it’s not entirely off the table yet and I sincerely hope that those who voted against reconsider in the future. The New York Times did a nice job reporting it:

Brazilian immigrants in the wake of midterm elections
| November 8, 2010 | 1:43 pm | Uncategorized | No comments

I recently came across an article that was published on November 1st, the day before midterm elections (link is here) in  in the Brazilian Times, a Portuguese-language newspaper that aims to keep Brazilian immigrants in the greater Boston area abreast of important issues on a local, national, and international level. The staff of the paper ran an exclusive interview they conducted with Governor Deval Patrick, outlining his favorable stances on bilingual education and higher education opportunities for children of undocumented immigrants. In the interview, Patrick explains his desire to see more English language classes for adults as well as ballots available in multiple languages; according to him, “Todos em toda a Commonwealth devem ter a oportunidade de ser civicamente envolvidos e deixar que suas vozes sejam ouvidas. O direito de voto é sagrado e devemos assegurar que todos os eleitores têm a oportunidade de compreender plenamente a política do país, e tomar as decisões mais informadas sobre os candidatos e questões eleitorais” (“Each person in the Commonwealth must have the opportunity to be civically involved and let their voices be heard. The right to vote is sacred and we must ensure that each voter has the opportunity to understand completely the politics of our country, and to make informed decisions on candidates and electoral propositions”). I was truly delighted to read this article and although it is in Portuguese, it makes for a fascinating read, even if you have to run it through Google Translate!

Katie Christiansen’s Bio
| September 13, 2010 | 4:43 pm | Uncategorized | No comments

bioHello, Urban Borderlands! My name is Katie Christiansen and I am a senior hailing from Larchmont, New York. I am currently pursuing a double major in French and Latin American Studies, the latter of which is what brings me to Urban Borderlands.

Having grown up just a few miles outside of New York City and its boroughs, Latin American immigration has always played a significant role in my life in one capacity or another. The daughter of two hard-working parents, I spent most of my formative years with two incredible Peruvian women who helped to raise my brother and I when my parents were at work during the day. Although I was quite young, these women left indelible marks on my upbringing.  They also served as a window to the complex socioeconomic structure of Westchester County, the county in which I grew up. While it is know for its affluence and proximity to New York, there is an amazing population of immigrants from all over the world who truly provide the backbone for the county’s economy. I’ve eaten in some of the best Peruvian and Brazilian restaurants in Westchester and encountered some of the most fascinating people there.

In addition to studying full-time at Tufts, I am an avid horseback rider. Placed in a saddle at the tender age of four, I have been forever devoted to all things equine. In the area where I grew up, most horseback riding establishments employed Latin American immigrants (some legal, some not) to care for the horses. Interestingly, all of the “grooms” were men and most of them had left behind careers and families in countries like Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to pursue more fruitful endeavors in the United States. A Honduran immigrant named Redin with whom I worked closely over my riding career regaled me with stories of his escape from his hometown in Central America, the arduous trek to Los Angeles which led him across the country and ultimately to New York, a saga that only served to pique my interest in immigration and, ultimately, this class.

I’ve only pursued one other Anthropology class at Tufts (Native Peoples & Indigenous Rights in South America) but became fascinated with the prospect of doing community fieldwork in Urban Borderlands. The three years I’ve spent in Somerville have been revelatory in terms of understanding the context of the Tufts community, but I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I hope to not only learn more about how fieldwork is conducted, but to better understand the larger community in which I live and how the introduction of the Green Line will affect the socioeconomic balance. The expansion of the Green Line is monumental in so many ways but with the increased convenience of transportation come sacrifices. I want to learn what these sacrifices are and how the people of our community will learn to cope with them.