Prof. Abdi Kusow to speak about Somali immigration

January 19, 2011 at 11:50 am
By Nick Welna

Thursday, January 27th


Alumni Guest House Meeting Room


Prof. Abdi Kusow to Speak at Carleton about Somali Immigration

By Nick Welna

Professor Abdi Kusow, a noted sociologist who has written extensively about African immigration to North America, will be giving a talk this Thursday, January 27th,  at Carleton College entitled “Somali Immigrants in the United States: Conceptualizing Transnational Migration in a Stateless Global Context.” The event will take place at Carleton’s Alumni Guest House, at the corner of 1st Street and College Street, from 7:30 to 9:00pm. All are welcome to attend this free event, which is sponsored by the Religion Department, Academic Civic Engagement, American Studies, EthIC, the Sociology-Anthropology Department, and the Educational Studies Department. Prof. Kusow has contributed valuable research to the fields of public health, race and ethnicity, and social psychology. Somali immigrants in particular have been the focus of his research, and he recently co-authored a book called, From Mogadishu to Dixon: The Somali Diaspora in a Global Context. His work has also helped show how immigrants, even in the face of prejudice and stigma in a new country, can create their own social and moral orders for their community. Additionally, Prof. Kusow has been a leader in international groups that encourage research to help create policies responsive to the challenges in Somalia today.

Prof. Kusow’s talk comes at a time when Carleton College is becoming increasingly involved with the Somali community and more broadly with Faribault youth in general. This term at Carleton, three classes in three different disciplines have partnered with the college’s office of Academic Civic Engagement to enable students to engage with local Somali-Americans and other young people in Faribault. In Prof. Shana Sippy’s “Global Religions in Minnesota” course, students are studying religious diversity in the area, and will each do a case study on a local place of worship, including the Al-Hudaa mosque in Faribault. Prof. Thabiti Willis is teaching a history class called “Africans in the Arab World,” and his students will visit with Somali-American Faribault Education (SAFE) program, as well the Banadir Restaurant to learn more about Somali-American culture. For Prof. Anita Chikkatur’s “Multicultural Education” course, students can volunteer at the Faribault middle and high schools, then reflect on how those experiences relate to their study of creating education that embraces human diversity. Students in these classes are excited to gain a deeper understanding of the Somali immigrant experience from hearing Prof. Kusow speak.

With essential support from the Faribault public schools, other Carleton students have also begun working with youth in Faribault outside of their college curriculum. The ACT Center has begun volunteer tutoring programs for Faribault middle schoolers that are growing rapidly. The Academic Civic Engagement program also operates after-school enrichment programs run by Carleton students at Faribault High School, through a grant from the Increasing College Access Program, funded by the Minnesota Department of Higher Education. Additionally, Carleton senior Elly Kuhlman is writing her senior thesis based on a year of research on youth programs in Faribault, and junior Anna Fure-Slocum is planning a thesis based on her experiences developing a summer camp and an after-school program in Faribault. “Bridging the gap between the college community and Faribault High School has provided both groups of students with valuable lessons and the opportunity to further their education,” says Fure-Slocum. “We hope to further develop collaboration between the two communities by learning from each other.” Prof. Kusow’s presentation will continue this effort to bring Faribault and Carleton even closer together by teaching everyone more about the Somali diaspora experience.

A special thanks to Prof. Shana Sippy for her help in organizing this event.