Jose Antonio Vargas discussed how American identity and citizenship are construed in culture and policy, through the telling of his own story. Vargas, the 2017-18 Wayne Morse Chair, is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and filmmaker. He is the founder of Define American, a nonprofit organization that uses storytelling to shift the conversation about immigration, and #EmergingUS, a multimedia startup for a new multi-ethnic, multiracial America.
In 2011, Vargas wrote an essay for the New York Times Magazine in which he revealed and chronicled his life in America as an undocumented immigrant. A year later, he appeared on the cover of TIME with fellow undocumented immigrants as part of a follow-up story he wrote. He also wrote, produced, and directed Documented, an award-winning documentary on his experience. Vargas was in residence at the Wayne Morse Center mid-October to mid-November 2017. His visit was in conjunction with the Wayne Morse Center’s 2017-19 theme of inquiry, Borders, Migration, and Belonging.
Cosponsors included the UO Center for Student Involvement: BE Series, Cinema Studies, Oregon Humanities Center, Division of Equity and Inclusion, School of Journalism and Communication, Center for Latino/a and Latin American Studies, and Ethnic Studies.