Trent McDonald

Graduate Student, Literature

We live in an era of globalization, of which mass migration is a large factor. Across modernity and especially the contemporary era, politics and literature have engaged with migration as nations have formed and borders have tightened and loosened. In my work, I study the relationship between migration, the state, and literature. The US has benefited from immigration (refugees, asylees, high-skilled workers) more than most other nations. With the replacement of the Cold War for the Global War on Terror, American domestic policy has again swung toward restrictionism. Large segments of the American people and state view newer arrivals, especially of minority ethnicities and faiths, with suspicion. Foreign policy thus continues to shape domestic policy, especially in debates on free speech, government spending allocation (here principally universities vs. the military) and national conception of self. Beginning in the postwar era, my project seeks to understand American domestic and foreign policy primarily through literature, and also through history and theory, to understand how contemporary migration and universities operate today.

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