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New Roots Welcomes Roman Scholar Micol Drago

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From left to right: Building Integrated Communities Researcher and Program Coordinator, Jessica White, Roman Scholar Micol Drago, and LMP Director Hannah Gill

As New Roots rolled out its new website in 2016 thanks to support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, we are delighted that our efforts to make the oral histories globally accessible are having some initial success. In October 2016, New Roots staff had the opportunity to meet Micol Drago, a student from the University of Roma 3 in Rome, Italy, while on a visit to North Carolina. She discovered the New Roots online resources in the course of her research on Latina and Latino identity in the United States. The New Roots Latino Oral Histories have become the primary source for her PhD thesis, which is entitled “Identity in Latinas and Latinos’ oral histories from the New Roots – Latino Migration Project.” We asked Micol some questions about her research and use of the archive in order to better understand how it is being used by foreign scholars.

Hannah Gill (HG): How did you find the New Roots Oral Histories?

Micol Drago (MD): I conducted extensive research looking for archives of oral histories of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. This is the best archive I’ve found in terms of accessibility and quality of interviews on Latino identity. Also, it’s an ongoing archive with recent materials that is well-structured.

HG: What are some of the more interesting things you have discovered using the archive for your research?IMG_3056

MD: Race and culture are important parts of the complex Latino and Latina identities in the United States. . . Anyone can be “American,” it’s an identity linked to choice. By contrast, in Italy, being “Italian” is not a choice, it’s more linked to one’s heritage and race.

HG: How has migration impacted Italian society in recent years?

MD: Europe has been impacted by the global refugee crisis,
and many migrants from the Middle East and Africa now live in Italy. Society is really changing in Italy, and Rome is an international place. What is happening in the United States with migration is relevant to Europe, and we can learn a lot from understanding the history of migration in the United States.

Thank you, Micol! We wish you the best of luck with your studies!