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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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North Meets South — Cultural Hybridity in Oregon: The South — Culture, Literature and Globalisation

Gabriella Ricciardi.

The movement of people in the XX and XXI centuries seems unrelenting and in a state like Oregon the fastest growing ethnic group comes from South America (from Mexico in particular). People often migrate because of economic reasons, to find a better life and more job opportunities. For generations, Oregon’s agriculture, with its vast labor demands, has played a prominent role in attracting immigrants and migrant workers. It is the main reason for the state’s dramatic growth in Mexican residents, who come to fill jobs in nurseries, vineyards, farms, forests, and food-processing plants.

North American culture has continually been enriched by the work of people of Mexican descent who were born here and by more recent immigrants who bring diverse customs, traditions and languages. In their stories, north and south are poles of a journey many generations have endured. For Mexicans as well as for other transcultural/transnational groups, identity and home are complex and difficult concepts. Thus, once a certain economic stability is achieved that at least guarantees survival, people tend to reproduce their culture of origin. In fact what enables people to stay is the strength of their cultural heritage and the ability to adapt and maintain connections between the US and their place of origin.

In my presentation I will focus on the importance of the culture of origin and the role traditional arts play in issues such as individuation, assimilation and integration in Woodburn, a small town in Oregon where more than 50% of the population is Mexican American.


Gabriella Ricciardi  (United States)
Assistant Professor
World Languages and Literature
Pacific University

Dr Ricciardi received her Ph. D. in Comparative Literature from the University og Oregon and is currently teaching at Pacific University

  • Mexican American
  • Oregon
  • Cultural Hybridity

(30 min Conference Paper, English/french)