NYU Press Author Nancy Foner Named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Distinguished Professor Nancy Foner Named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Distinguished Professor Nancy Foner Named to American Academy of Arts & Sciences

Nancy Foner, Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter and the CUNY Graduate Center, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a leading center for independent policy research and one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies. Members of the honorary society contribute to Academy studies of science and technology policy, global security, social policy and American institutions, the humanities, and education.

Dr. Foner’s main area of interest is immigration, and she has written widely on immigration to New York City. Particularly interested in the comparative study of immigration, she has studied current immigration to the U.S. as it compares with immigration during earlier periods; the immigrant experience in various American gateway cities; and immigrant minorities in the United States and Europe.

Foner is the author or editor of 14 books and the author of more than 85 articles and book chapters. Her latest book is Across Generations: Immigrant Families in America (New York University Press, 2009).

“It’s a great honor to be elected to the Academy and recognized for my work as an immigration scholar,” said Foner. “It’s especially important now, when immigration is such a crucial issue for this country. And it’s important for Hunter, which is not only a public institution in the quintessential immigrant city–but a college where the vast majority of students are either immigrants themselves or immigrants’ children.”

In 2010 Foner received the Distinguished Career Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association. She is on the editorial board of numerous journals, has testified on immigration issues before several Congressional committees, has been chair of the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association, and is past president of the Society for the Anthropology of Work and of the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational/Global Anthropology.

Sociologist Nancy Foner Earns ASA Career Award

We just learned that this year’s ASA International Migration Section Distinguished Career Award is being given to Nancy Foner, author of Across Generations: Immigrant Families in America and In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration. Congratulations to Nancy for her impressive achievements!

You can meet Nancy Foner and our sociology editor, Ilene Kalish, at the ASA annual meeting in Atlanta this August.

Across Continents, Families & Generations

A review of Across Generations: Immigrant Families in America by Nancy Foner in The Indypendent.

A 10-year-old daughter of an African immigrant falls during school recess in Washington, D.C., scraping her knee. School classmates run over to help — the girl’s knee is bleeding from the fall — but the teacher immediately interjects, “Don’t touch her, she is from Africa, you might get AIDS!”

Raised by his grandparents in El Salvador, Eduardo resents his parents’ decision to move to the United States without him. Working three jobs, his mother says she only wanted the best for him. Eduardo asks, “What do you think is worse, to share poverty here with my half-siblings and mother and father, or not having learned how to love them because I never saw them?”

These accounts are just a taste of the plethora of stories in Across Generations: Immigrant Families in America, a collection of essays that unearth the generational and cultural tensions that divide immigrant families and the ties that bring them together. Editor Nancy Foner, together with 10 scholars (nine sociologists and one anthropologist), delves into this largely unexplored world, reminding us that there is more to immigrants than the one-dimensional image of the “hard worker” portrayed by mainstream culture. The book explores the immigrant family within a transnational context, analyzing the heavy impact of geo-political and societal forces.

Impossibly Possible: Hidden Pasts of Immigrant Families

A New York Times article exploring what second-generation immigrants know and don’t know about their families’ pasts features Nancy Foner, editor of Across Generations: Immigrant Families in America (NYU Press, May 2009). Here’s a podcast featuring Nancy talking on the same subject.

This year, Aleksandr Akulov, 19, found out that his mother had given up a promising career in mechanical engineering in her native Russia to move to New York, where she found work at a laundromat. Ilirjan Gjonbalaj, 18, discovered that his Albanian parents were smuggled into the country from their home in Montenegro. And Kanushree Jain, 19, learned that her parents were treated with outright hostility in New York by their fellow immigrants from India because they were new arrivals and could not speak English.

Though children of immigrants may generally know the broad arc of their parents’ lives, the details — of lives lived before America, of hardships in leaving and struggles to adapt — are frequently lost in the rush of assimilation, a time of forging ahead rather than looking back.

And so it is that each year, when Nancy Foner, a professor of sociology at Hunter, requires the students in her course “The Peopling of New York” to interview a close relative about the family’s recent history, the discoveries are often startling, to the students as well as to their classmates.

In a class where most of the students are either immigrants themselves or the children of immigrants, the assignment is not simply an exercise in historical inquiry but also an intense exploration into their own lives and the sacrifices of their forebears.