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New Book Explores Immigrants’ Suburban American Dreams & Struggles

Monday, June 19, 2017  
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Over the last few decades, California’s Silicon Valley has become not only the world’s technological epicenter, but also one of the fastest growing, and most racially and ethnically diverse regions in the U.S. Spurred by the rise of tech giants like Google and Facebook, the region has attracted diverse, highly-educated immigrants from across the globe—particularly Asia—who have built their new lives among the Valley’s many predominately white, middle-class suburbs.

A new book written by the University of Maryland’s Dr. Willow Lung-Amam explores the dreams and struggles of Asian Americans as they have made their homes in Silicon Valley suburbia, and the tensions that often emerged from the city’s changing character. Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia tells the tale of one Silicon Valley community’s decades-long transformation from a small, rural town into a diverse immigrant gateway. Through the voices of long-term residents, recent immigrants, and city officials, Trespassers? offers a unique window into the everyday lives, landscapes, and politics of this iconic and rapidly changing region. It also offers lessons for urban practitioners and scholars about the vital role of immigrants in the changing American landscape and their struggles for inclusion within the American Dream.

“Trespassers? is a question to readers about how they interpret the central conflicts of the book,” explains Dr. Lung-Amam. “The suburban landscape upon which immigrants are increasingly making their homes has long been shaped by ideas and policies of social exclusion, privilege, and privacy. Yet it has also served as a beacon of the American Dream. In era of rapidly increasing diversity in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, how flexible is suburbia to being reimagined by a new generation of dreamers?”

Dr. Lung-Amam is Assistant Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and Director of Community Development at the National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is a 2017 Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar and a recent Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. Trespassers? is available from University of California Press here. Read more about Dr. Lung-Amam or contact her for a book talk here.


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