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José Villagrán: “Stuck in the Mud: The Embeddedness of Exploitation in U.S. Farm Labor”
February 24, 2020 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
CLS Lecturer José Villagrán (Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin, Anthropology) will discuss his research on the lives of migrant and seasonal farmworkers of the “Midwest stream” between South Texas and the U.S. Midwest. Employing an engaged methodological approach in which advocacy on behalf of one’s research subjects is epistemologically centered, Villagrán uses his long-term connection with farmworker social movements and personal history as a migrant farmworker to interrogate the structural forces that shape much of farmworker life today.
In this presentation, he draws from his research to discuss how little has improved in the lives of migrant and seasonal farmworkers in the decades following the prominent American farmworker movement of the 1960s. Housing remains deplorable, pay sub-standard, and dignity evasive. Far from a coincidental or convenient coalescing of American labor needs and a Latin American labor supply, Villagrán argues that American politicians and farming interests continue to pull the political and economic strings that drive exploitable migrants into the eager arms of farm operators today. The presentation is organized by the Department of Anthropology.