'New Americans' in a 'New-South' city? Immigrant and refugee politics in the Music City

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47 Scopus citations


Since the early 1990s, many cities and towns in the US South have witnessed dramatic transformations in their racial and ethnic composition. Although these changes largely reflect spectacular Latino population growth, refugee resettlements (including Kurdish, Sudanese, Somalian and Bosnian settlers) for the last two decades have also increased ethnic diversity across the region. In some southern American cities, the combination of Latino populations and refugee communities is transforming urban geographies of race, ethnicity and cultural belonging and, in the process, reworking the ways that such cities understand and approach issues of 'diversity'. This article examines these changes in a case study of Nashville, Tennessee - a refugee relocation site since the early 1980s and a popular destination for Latino/as since the mid-1990s. Through an analysis of the social spaces and institutional contexts within which Latino/as and refugees encounter each other, it shows how the presence of politically visible refugee communities and numerically large Latino communities within Nashville's overall 'international community' complicates immigrant and refugee politics. In doing so, it argues for increased critical attention to interactions between Latino and refugee organizations and communities and offers a framework to engage the new immigrant politics and identities emerging from encounters among 'New Americans' in 'New-South' cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-435
Number of pages15
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Ethnicity
  • Latino migration
  • Race
  • Refugee resettlement
  • Southern US cities
  • Urban geography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Geography, Planning and Development


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