Posted April 28, 2008
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Elizabeth Durden, assistant professor of sociology at Bucknell University, has received a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Program grant for study in Mexico during the 2008-09 academic year.
This U.S. Department of Education program is designed to contribute to the development and improvement of modern foreign language and area studies in the United States by providing opportunities for scholars to conduct research abroad.
Durden's research project centers on indigenous Mexican immigration from the Yucatan to the United States. Specifically, she will focus on an immigrant hometown association as a tool to explore transnationalism, civil society and ethnic identities.
Hometown associations are migrant social organizations committed to investing in home communities by pooling individual remittances for the purpose of community projects. These associations fulfill several functions, including promoting social exchange, achieving political influence and aiding in the pursuit of low-scale development goals in migrant sending communities.
Indigenous Mexican migrants from the community of Tabí now working in the United States have created a hometown association to address the social and economic marginalization of their home community by constructing a health clinic and low-income housing.
"Through qualitative research and the implementation of a survey, this research will make important contributions to three understudied areas," said Durden.
"It will contribute an empirical understanding of how hometown associations intersect with the nation state and civil society; it will advance an understanding of the role of ethnic identity in constructing transnational communities; and it will allow an investigation of emerging Mayan-speaking Mexican immigrants, a group characteristic of the newer migrant streams only recently in the United States."
Latin American area studies
Durden, who joined the Bucknell faculty in 2004, received her Ph.D. in sociology and demography from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research and teaching interests include social demography, immigration, health inequalities, race/ethnicity, and Latin American area studies.
Her previous research on race/ethnic inequities in health care access, marriage patterns of Mexican Americans and the emergence of democracy within Mexico has appeared in such publications as International Migration Review, Social Science Quarterly, the Bulletin of Latin American Research, and Medical Care.
While at Bucknell, she has taught Introduction to Sociology, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Remaking America: Latin American Immigration to the United States, and Analyzing the Social World, a quantitative data analysis course.
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