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Immigration, Transformation and Society
24 Apr. 2023 -
19:00 - 22:00
Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam (OBA)

Immigration, Transformation and Society

NIAS x John Adams Institute

What makes up the immigrant experience? What are its contours, challenges, and realities? And what gets lost, altered, or edited in the transition between leaving one’s birth country and arriving in a new one? The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study is thrilled to present an evening that weaves arts and academics, traverses national boundaries, and crosses oceans, in partnership with John Adams Institute, the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, Polish Culture NL, the Embassy of the Polish Republic and Buda Staging Performance Foundation.


From the music that we hear to the food we eat, immigration has had a profound impact on American life, and is nevertheless a hotly debated topic.

This ‘evening in two parts’ will include a performance of Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek’s play The Emigrants, and we will be joined by Dr. Nancy Foner of CUNY for a discussion surrounding her latest book, One Quarter of the Nation: Immigration and the Transformation of America. There will be a short intermission between the performance and the discussion, and we will close the evening with a festive reception.

Part One: The Emigrants

Decorated Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek (1930-2013) was famous for his satirical political plays that centered major societal questions squarely in the lives of his characters. The play gives voice to migration and the political problems associated with it in multiple registers. How to deal with migration personally, politically, and socially, and how does migration both strengthen and test the bonds of community? The play is directed by Hanna Grosfeld-Buda and will be performed by actors from Warsaw. The performance will be in Polish with live English subtitles.

Duration: 60 minutes

Part Two: Lessons from the melting pot

The United States is known around the world as a cultural melting pot: a nation of immigrants from across the globe pursuing, creating and reinterpreting the American Dream. Today, nearly 86 million people in the U.S. are either immigrants or descendants thereof: immigration and immigrants have played a central role in transforming American society through rejuvenation, strengthening old industries and spurring the growth of new ones.

From the music that we hear to the food we eat, immigration has had a profound impact on American life, and is nevertheless a hotly debated topic. After presenting the findings of her book, Dr. Foner will be joined by fellow political scientist Dr. Els de Graauw for an in-depth conversation.

Duration: 60 minutes


Nancy Foner is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Foner is the author or editor of 20 books; the most recent is One Quarter of the Nation: Immigration and the Transformation of America, to be published in 2022 by Princeton University Press.

Els de Graauw is Associate Professor at Baruch College, the City University of New York, with an appointment in the Department of Political Science and teaching responsibilities also at the Austin W. Marxe School of Public Policy and the Graduate Center. She is a NIAS fellow from September 2022 – June 2023. During her fellowship, de Graauw’s research engages with scholarly debates about how government bureaucracies shape immigrants’ access to rights and services and how local contexts of reception influence immigrant integration.

Moderator: Fadoua Alaoui

  • Keynotes
  • Els de  Graauw 1
  • Immigration, Transformation and Society 1


Enthusiastic about this event? Buy your tickets via this link.

In collaboration with

John Adams Institute, Polish Culture NL, OBA & Princeton University Press