Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 Questions Series - Tanya Golash-Boza

1. How did you arrive at your dissertation topic or most recent project of considerable scope?

My ongoing research is on the experiences of people who are deported from the United States. I decided to research this population because, when writing my previous book on immigration policy, I had trouble finding out what happens to deportees. The few stories I was able to find in journalistic accounts were compelling as well as devastating. I wanted to know more about what happens to people once they are deported. Additionally, I was confident that this project was important not only to me, but also to the population I hoped to study.

2. If you could go back and teach your grad school self one important thing about reading/writing/teaching/etc. that you learned after grad school, what would it be?

Teaching well is not about knowing a lot of material. Thus, you do not have to over-prepare for class by reading widely. Instead, focus on the knowledge you and the students share and push them to think critically about it by asking questions. This has two benefits: 1) it makes class more engaging; and 2) coming up with a list of questions to ask about the reading takes a lot less time than trying to learn all of the background material.

3. What aspect of being a professional scholar and teacher do you find most difficult?

I find writing books difficult. But, that’s what I like so much about it. Figuring out to write a book was a tremendous challenge, and I love a good challenge. Now, I am trying to figure out how to write a better book. That too is a challenge.

4. What do you like most about being a professional scholar and teacher?

I love being able to exercise my intellectual curiosity, having the freedom to teach and research topics I think are important, and having a tremendously flexible schedule.

5. What kinds of things do you do to maintain your intellectual curiosity?

I attend colloquia on and off campus. I travel to conferences. I talk to colleagues about my work and theirs. I read widely – I am always reading something.

Tanya Golash-Boza is the author of three books: 1) Due Process Denied (2012), which describes how and why non-citizens in the United States have been detained and deported for minor crimes, without regard for constitutional limits on disproportionate punishment; 2) Immigration Nation (2012), which provides a critical analysis of the impact that U.S. immigration policy has on human rights; and 3) Yo Soy Negro: Blackness in Peru (2011), the first book in English to address what it means to be black in Peru.  She has also published many articles in peer-reviewed journals on deportations, racial identity, U.S. Latinos/as and Latin America, in addition to essays and chapters in edited volumes and online venues. Her innovative scholarship was awarded the Distinguished Early Career Award from the Racial and Ethnic Minorities Studies Section of the American Sociological Association in 2010.

Tanya Golash-Boza’s most recent work is on the consequences of mass deportation. With funding from a Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad Award, she completed over 150 interviews with deportees in Brazil, Guatemala, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic in 2009 and 2010. This research forms the basis of her book manuscript – Deported, which she is currently writing.

Tanya Golash-Boza graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, a Certificate of Anthropology from L’Ecole d’Anthropologie in Paris, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Prior to working at the University of California, she worked at the University of Kansas. She lives in Merced, California with her husband and three school-age children. She has lived in Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean, and speaks fluent English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

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