Virtual Event: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Not "A Nation of Immigrants:"
Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion
in conversation with WALTER JOHNSON
November 2, 2021
7:00 PM ET
Join our online event (or pre-register) via the link in the event description.
Free - $5 contribution suggested at registration
Harvard Book Store's virtual event series welcomes renowned historian, writer, and activist ROXANNE DUNBAR-ORTIZ—the acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States—for a discussion of her latest book, Not "A Nation of Immigrants:" Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion. She will be joined in conversation by award-winning historian WALTER JOHNSON.
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About Not "A Nation of Immigrants"
Whether in political debates or discussions about immigration around the kitchen table, many Americans, regardless of party affiliation, will say proudly that we are a nation of immigrants. In this bold new book, historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz asserts this ideology is harmful and dishonest because it serves to mask and diminish the US’s history of settler colonialism, genocide, white supremacy, slavery, and structural inequality, all of which we still grapple with today.
She explains that the idea that we are living in a land of opportunity—founded and built by immigrants—was a convenient response by the ruling class and its brain trust to the 1960s demands for decolonialization, justice, reparations, and social equality. Moreover, Dunbar-Ortiz charges that this feel-good—but inaccurate—story promotes a benign narrative of progress, obscuring that the country was founded in violence as a settler state, and imperialist since its inception.
While some of us are immigrants or descendants of immigrants, others are descendants of white settlers who arrived as colonizers to displace those who were here since time immemorial, and still others are descendants of those who were kidnapped and forced here against their will. This paradigm shifting new book from the highly acclaimed author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States charges that we need to stop believing and perpetuating this simplistic and a historical idea and embrace the real (and often horrific) history of the United States.
Praise for Not "A Nation of Immigrants"
“A compelling counter-narrative to America’s autobiography as the making of a ‘nation of immigrants.’ Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz not only chips away at this settler account but also provides the narrative glue for an emancipatory movement beyond the settler-native dichotomy.” —Mahmood Mamdani, author of Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities
“Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is a one-woman wrecking ball against the tower of lies erected by generations of official and television historians—people who make a living glorifying slave traders and exterminators of Native Americans.” —Ishmael Reed
“With characteristic grit and brio, Dunbar-Ortiz demonstrates how profoundly the settler-colonial history of the United States and the ideology of ‘white nativism’ have shaped both immigration policy and immigrant identity.” —Mike Davis, author of Prisoners of the American Dream
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