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SIS Professor’s Podcast Explores Immigration and Identity

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From left to right: Kyle Murdock, Isabella Alcañiz, and Agustina Giraudy.

SIS professor Agustina Giraudy, an immigrant from Argentina, found herself having the same discussion with her friends over and over again—one about feeling “uprooted” after immigrating to the United States.

“We struggle with this dual feeling of being uprooted,” explains Giraudy. “We have our lives here, our work here, our kids growing up here—but we do not feel that we belong to the US. We still feel very attached to our roots abroad—but when we go there, we do not feel that we fit in quite right.”

She explores this feeling on her podcast, UPROOT, where she engages in conversations with immigrants about their identity and the challenges and opportunities they face in the condition of being “uprooted.”

“One of the things I wanted the podcast to broadcast is a very sincere and honest conversation about how it feels to be an immigrant in the US,” says Giraudy. “I wanted to have those same conversations that I had with my friends over dinner.”

Over the fall, Giraudy worked with the director of AU’s Audio Technology Program, Michael Harvey, and CAS graduate student Kyle Murdock to produce the first season of UPROOT. She recorded the podcast on campus at the Kreeger Studio, inviting Latin American immigrants from different social and economic backgrounds to take part in the episodes. Each guest discussed their challenges, opportunities, and experiences becoming multicultural citizens in the US and in their communities.

“I was particularly interested in trying to form a more academic perspective of how that feeling of ‘uprootedness’ shapes your life in the country where you live,” says Giraudy. “How does that shape your political behavior? How does that shape your social behavior? How does that shape your emotional behavior?”

While the topic of UPROOT differs thematically from her professional research on subnational undemocratic regimes in Latin America, Giraudy’s experience conducting qualitative research and interviews over the last 20 years was decisive and instrumental in shaping the narratives for the podcast.

“I do fieldwork in Latin America twice a year and interview people. I talk to a variety of people, including presidents, senators, local grassroots organizers, and indigenous people,” says Giraudy. “My research has allowed me to tell stories about migration because of all the expertise I have gathered interviewing different people.”

So far, Giraudy has found that regardless of social or economic class or their reasons for migrating to the US, all of the podcast’s guests have shared the same feeling of uprootedness. In addition, her guests have taught her about the discrimination that exists within the Hispanic community between those who are first-generation immigrants and do not speak English fluently and those who do.

“I have also learned about how the stereotypical views of white Americans towards Hispanics are widespread and how people with those views have mischaracterized LatinXs who do not meet those stereotypes,” explains Giraudy.

Out now, the first season of the podcast features 10 guests who immigrated to the US from Latin American countries. The interviews were conducted in Spanish; Giraudy is interested in conducting future interviews in English with immigrants from around the world.