Race-ing Fargo

Race-ing Fargo

Refugees, Citizenship, and the Transformation of Small Cities

Jennifer Erickson


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Tracing the history of refugee settlement in Fargo, North Dakota, from the 1980s to the present day, Race-ing Fargo focuses on the role that gender, religion, and sociality play in everyday interactions between refugees from South Sudan and Bosnia-Herzegovina and the dominant white Euro-American population of the city. Jennifer Erickson outlines the ways in which refugees have impacted this small city over the last thirty years, showing how culture, political economy, and institutional transformations collectively contribute to the racialization of white cities like Fargo in ways that complicate their demographics.

Race-ing Fargo shows that race, religion, and decorum prove to be powerful forces determining worthiness and belonging in the city and draws attention to the different roles that state and private sectors played in shaping ideas about race and citizenship on a local level. Through the comparative study of white secular Muslim Bosnians and Black Christian Southern Sudanese, Race-ing Fargo demonstrates how cross-cultural and transnational understandings of race, ethnicity, class, and religion shape daily citizenship practices and belonging.


Jennifer Erickson:

Jennifer Erickson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Ball State University.