‘Becoming American’ Film, Discussion Series Focuses on Immigration Experiences

Beginning this fall, Duquesne University's Gumberg Library-along with local partners Jewish Community Center (JCC) Pittsburgh and Jewish Family and Community Services-will host a thought-provoking documentary and scholar-led discussion series designed to encourage informed conversations about immigration issues against the backdrop of the United States' own immigration history.

Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Becoming American: A Documentary Film and Discussion Series on Our Immigration Experience will provide participants the opportunity to explore both the history and impact of immigration in the United States. Insightful discussions will be led by Duquesne University scholars Dr. Jennie Schulze, associate professor of political science, and Dr. Emad Mirmotahari, associate professor of English.

Duquesne University is the only Pennsylvania institution to be awarded the grant, which provides a free, six-week public program of documentaries that represent diverse immigration experiences drawn from the past and present.

The following documentaries will be screened at either Duquesne University (Room 104 of College Hall) or the JCC Pittsburgh's Katz Theater (5738 Darlington Rd., Squirrel Hill.):

  • The Century of Immigration: 1820-1934, Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:30 p.m. at the JCC Katz Theater. This film chronicles the period when 40 million immigrants entered the United States.
  • Promise and Prejudice, Monday, Oct. 15, at 6:30 p.m. at the JCC Katz Theater. This film explores the historic and current tension between Americans' acceptance of immigrants and the periodic backlash prompted by concern for the economic and cultural effects of newcomers.
  • Between Two Worlds: Identity and Acculturation, Monday, Oct. 22, at 6:30 p.m. at the JCC Katz Theater. This film looks at immigrants' reactions and adjustments to living in a new country and culture.
  • Help Wanted? Immigration and Work, Monday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m. at Duquesne University. This film delves into the economic side of immigration and chronicles the essential part that immigrant labor has played in building the United States.
  • Family and Community, Monday, Nov. 5, at 6:30 p.m. at Duquesne University. This film examines the role family ties and community institutions have played in successful migration and adaptation to American life.
  • Immigration and Popular Culture, Monday, Nov. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at Duquesne University. This film considers the ways the media and popular culture have historically taught newcomers how to "be American" and how different immigration groups' contributions have transformed culture and art in the United States.

"Each film screening and discussion in the Becoming American series is designed as a catalyst for learning, inquiry and community dialogue," Dr. Sara Baron, Duquesne University librarian, said. "We are thrilled and honored to host this insightful and relevant program here in Pittsburgh."

For more information, visit duq.edu/BecomingAmerican.

Becoming American
Becoming American is a project of City Lore, in collaboration with The Immigration and Ethnic History Society and the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience. Becoming American has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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