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The Cultural Politics of U.S. ImmigrationGender, Race, and Media$
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Leah Perry

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479828777

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479828777.001.0001

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Media, Gender, and Immigration

(p.1) Introduction
The Cultural Politics of U.S. Immigration

Leah Perry

NYU Press

This chapter introduces the social, historical, and political elements of 1980s immigration debates in both policy-making and popular culture. Drawing on scholarship in American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Race and Ethnic Studies, Critical Legal Studies, and Media Studies, it outlines the two central tropes in 1980s immigration debates that culminated with the passing of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, the “nation of immigrants” and “immigration emergency” tropes. It argues that in response to the civil rights and second-wave feminist movements, gendered Reagan-era discourse about Latin American, Asian, and white ethnic immigration was a crucial ingredient in the forming of the neoliberal idea of democracy. The history of immigration and popular culture is outlined, as is the book’s methodology, which blends feminist media studies with critical legal analysis to dialectally examine significant moments in immigration policymaking and contemporary popular culture.

Keywords:   immigration, gender, sexuality, race, media, popular culture, neoliberalism, Media Studies, Reagan-era

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