MPRC Seminar Series- Onoso Imoagene, UPenn Sociology
"On the Horns of a Racial Dilemma: The Experiences of Second Generation Nigerians in the United States and Britain"
In this talk, I examine the key factors that impact the experiences of second generation adults of Nigerian ancestry in the United States and Britain. I discuss how several structural factors - national identity, each country's history with black people - from slavery, to colonialism, and the resultant racial hierarchy, parental resources, and the adult second generation own class positions - affect their experiences and identity formation processes. My findings lead me to make two key arguments. First, that being black is not a disadvantage as theorized by two key second generation assimilation theories (segmented assimilation and racialization), and thus, these theories have to be complexified. Second, that national context affects ethnic identities and identificational assimilation of the second generation.
Onoso Imoagene is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University. Her research examines the experiences of Black immigrants in the U.S. and other contexts. At present, she is wrapping up a project that analyzes the experiences of second generation African adults in the U.S. and Britain. This project examines how the African second generation negotiate what it means to be black within the racial and ethnic contexts of these countries and how national identity and national myths affect ethnic identification. More broadly, it seeks to understand what the experiences of the African second generation reveal about race and racism and the intersections of race, class, culture, and gender in the U.S. and Britain. She has also started a new project on diversity visa lottery winners. It is a multi-site project that studies diversity lottery winners before they leave the home country and after they arrive in the United States. Her other research focuses on educational attainment and social mobility among immigrants.