One World Lecture Series: Prof. Fiona Vernal (NWL)

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Program Type: Lecture/Workshop
Age Group: Adult
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SUMMARY: West Indians have surpassed all other ethnic groups to become the largest population of foreign-born immigrants in Connecticut. This astonishing demographic trend in such as small state was eight decades in the making. Liberalization of immigration policies, which permitted family reunification between the 1960s and 1980s, brought thousands more Caribbean men, women, and children to American shores. But why Connecticut? This lecture explores how and why West Indians moved to Connecticut, and perhaps more importantly, why they stayed.  This story provides a different angle on some of the debates raging in American public discourse on immigration and globalization: chain migration, guest workers program, illegal migration, and deportation. It also offers a look at more private community debates about assimilation, language, memory, and the struggle to stake their claims as Americans without relinquishing their cultural heritage.


Fiona Vernal earned her BA from Princeton University in 1995 and her MA and PhD from Yale. After completing her doctoral work in December 2003, she served as director of African Studies at Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since 2005 she has taught at the University of Connecticut’s Department of History and is currently Associate Professor of history and Africana Studies. Her research straddles both African and Caribbean history. Her current research project, which also includes a traveling exhibition on Caribbean migration, explores the history of Caribbean migration to Connecticut, using the Greater Hartford region as a lens through which to explore the intersection of history and contemporary public discourses on immigration.  

SUPPORT: This series is made possible with a grant from the Stanley D. and Hinda N. Fisher Foundation, administered by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Oct. 25, 2018 [Thur., 7PM] - Prof. Cheryl Greenberg
     “Why Not Restrict Hate Speech? (An Historical Perspective)”
Nov. 14, 2018 [Wed., 7PM] - Prof. Fiona Vernal
     "How Did West Indians Become the Largest Foreign-Born Population in Connecticut?”
Dec. 6, 2018 [Thur., 7PM] - Prof. Okey Ndibe
     “The Seduction of Silence: Five Reasons Not to Surrender!”
Jan. 9, 2019 [Wed., 7PM] - Prof. Mary-Jane Rubenstein 
     “God and the Multiverse: A Melodrama” 
• Feb. 10, 2019 [Sun., 2PM] - Prof. Thomas S. Harrington
     "Is Resurgent Nationalism a Threat or a Renewal?: Exploring the Case of Catalonia"
March 12, 2019 [Tues., 7PM] - Prof. Edward Stringham
     "How Markets and the Invisible Hand Creates Order in Society: From PayPal to the Blockchain"  
March 26, 2019 [Tues. 7PM] - Prof. Elizabeth R. Nugent
     "The Politics of Repression in the Middle East"
May 9, 2019 [Thur. 7PM] - Prof. Ian Shapiro
     "Democratic Competition: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"

PARKING: There is ample library parking in the nearby Isham Garage. Please bypass the garage payment kiosks and come directly to the lecture in the Noah Webster Library Meeting Room, 20 South Main Street, where you may validate your parking with your license plate number.