April 22, 2011

Speaker will address immigration laws

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- First Arizona, then California, does it matter in Illinois? The Department of Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale welcomes Kent A. Ono, a professor of cinema and media studies and Asian American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, for a public lecture about immigration laws passed in Arizona and pending in California.

Ono’s lecture, “Making Migrants Alien: Rhetoric, Culture and Migration in the U. S. Southwest,” begins at 7 p.m. on April 27 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium in Morris Library. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ono will discuss the rhetoric of immigration associated with the two legislative acts. The Arizona act, Arizona SB 1070, was signed into law by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer last year, and instructs state employees to investigate and report those suspected of being undocumented immigrants. The California legislation, Ono said, would, if passed, take citizenship rights away from children born in the United States if their parents are undocumented. Ono’s lecture focuses on the controversial legislation, but also on the language used by proponents of it.

“The rhetorical and institutional strategies to figure documented and undocumented migrants as ‘alien’ illustrate both anxiety and frustration about the changing world as well as the degree to which a discourse of differentiation, exclusion, and control continue to be critical to the production of nations, citizens and subjects,” he said.

Ono is the author of three books, including one co-authored with John M. Sloop on the California legislation in question for this discussion. That book won the Book of the Year Award from the Critical and Cultural Studies Division of the National Communication Association. His articles appear in journals including “Journal of Communication Inquiry” and “Journal of Asian American Studies.” He is a recipient of the Charles H. Woolbert Research Award, which recognizes a publication that has stood the test of time and has become a stimulus for new ways of looking at communication research. He also received the Outstanding Asian American Faculty/Staff Award in 2007, among other awards.

The Department of Speech Communication, the College of Liberal Arts and the Office of the Provost make Ono’s guest lecture possible.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Ono, contact Nilanjana Bardhan, associate professor in the Department of Speech Communication, at 618/453-1891 or bardhan@siu.edu.