Event Title

Generational Dream: First Generation American Citizens and their Relationship to the American Dream

Presenter Information

Anna Mintz, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 342

Start Date

1-5-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 2:45 PM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

The term the American Dream was coined in 1931 by James Truslow Adams and has undoubtedly become an integral part of the American ethos. This narrative has brought immigrants to American shores, with the promises of prosperity and success, for centuries. Yet, in 2014, it must be questioned whether this dream still holds significance for the young people of this country. By studying first generation American citizens, the fastest growing segment of the American population, it can be ascertained how relevant this narrative still is and what power it still holds. The following research describes my interactions with seven Colby College first generation American students. This project seeks to draw conclusions about how this demographic relates to the American Dream and what it means for them. Originally, this project meant to focus on the social aspects of their lives as the children of immigrants, such as cultural assimilation struggles, language barriers, and problems that come in straddling two cultures. However, this work ends up focusing on contemporary aspects of their lives that affect opportunity, according to them, more so than being the children of immigrants. Ultimately, I focus on two major themes: an overwhelming disassociation with the American Dream concept and a sense that contemporary issues such as racial relations are more salient than immigration status for first generation American citizens today.

Faculty Sponsor

Laura Saltz

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. American Studies Program

CLAS Field of Study

Interdisciplinary Studies

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

839

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May 1st, 1:00 PM May 1st, 2:45 PM

Generational Dream: First Generation American Citizens and their Relationship to the American Dream

Diamond 342

The term the American Dream was coined in 1931 by James Truslow Adams and has undoubtedly become an integral part of the American ethos. This narrative has brought immigrants to American shores, with the promises of prosperity and success, for centuries. Yet, in 2014, it must be questioned whether this dream still holds significance for the young people of this country. By studying first generation American citizens, the fastest growing segment of the American population, it can be ascertained how relevant this narrative still is and what power it still holds. The following research describes my interactions with seven Colby College first generation American students. This project seeks to draw conclusions about how this demographic relates to the American Dream and what it means for them. Originally, this project meant to focus on the social aspects of their lives as the children of immigrants, such as cultural assimilation struggles, language barriers, and problems that come in straddling two cultures. However, this work ends up focusing on contemporary aspects of their lives that affect opportunity, according to them, more so than being the children of immigrants. Ultimately, I focus on two major themes: an overwhelming disassociation with the American Dream concept and a sense that contemporary issues such as racial relations are more salient than immigration status for first generation American citizens today.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/10