Kathryn Abrams

University of California, Berkeley Law

Storytelling, Emotion Culture, and Performative Citizenship in the Undocumented Immigrants Movement

Thursday, September 26, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

How have a group of immigrants who lack formal legal status, and have been targeted by anti-immigrant enforcement in their state, developed the sense of authorization necessary to become outspoken and effective activists? This lecture, which draws on four years of observation and interviews with undocumented activists in Phoenix, Arizona, will explore three practices that have helped to form this new social movement.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center, the departments of philosophy and political science, the Program in Policy Studies and the Churchill Fund.  It is part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Kathryn Abrams is Herma Hill Kay Distinguished Professor of Law at UC-Berkeley School of Law, where she teaches Constitutional Law, Feminist Legal Theory, and Law and Social Movements. Her early scholarship on constitutional and statutory civil rights – including the Voting Rights Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – led to a career-long interest in social movements that aim to secure greater equality under law. Her work on feminist legal theory analyzed the use of experiential narratives, and the character of women’s agency under circumstances of constraint. More recently she has become interested in the role of emotion in adjudication, rights claiming, and social movement mobilization. These interests have fueled her current project, a book on the mobilization of undocumented immigrants in Arizona, tentatively titled Open Hand, Closed Fist: Undocumented Immigrants Organize in the Valley of the Sun.