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Author of book about Beardstown’s immigrants to speak on campus

MONMOUTH, Ill. – As part of Monmouth College’s ongoing “Immigration Palooza” events, University of Illinois professor Faranak Miraftab will speak about her research with immigrants in the meatpacking industry in a town in west-central Illinois.

Free and open to the public, Miraftab’s talk be held at 7 p.m. Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. in the Morgan Room of Poling Hall.

Miraftab’s research appears in the book Global Heartland, which is an account of diverse, dispossessed and displaced people brought together in Beardstown. Recruited to work in the local meat-processing plant, African-Americans, Mexicans and West Africans recreated the town in unexpected ways.

Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in the United States, Mexico and Togo, Miraftab shows how this workforce is produced for the global labor market; how the displaced workers’ transnational lives help them stay in their jobs; and how they negotiate their relationships with each other across the lines of ethnicity, race, language and nationality as they make a new home.

Beardstown is an example of local-global connections that make for local development. Focusing on a locality in a non-metropolitan region, Miraftab’s work contributes to urban scholarship on globalization by offering a fresh perspective on politics and the materialities of placemaking.

Also the author of Women’s Empowerment: Participation in Shelter Strategies at the Community Level in Urban Informal Settlements, Miraftab is a professor of urban and regional planning at Illinois.