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9/30/2003 Linfield sociology professor to discuss Latino cultural citizenship

McMINNVILLE – An examination of Latino cultural citizenship in the Willamette Valley will be the focus of an upcoming Linfield College faculty lecture by Jeff D. Peterson, professor of sociology.

Peterson will present "Oh, the Places We'll Go! Latino Cultural Citizenship in Oregon's Northern Willamette Valley" on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in 201 Riley Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Peterson will critique new literature surrounding Latino cultural citizenship and address its deficiencies by discussing local data. He will incorporate information from more than 60 interviews he has conducted over the past four years as part of a study documenting the process through which Latino cultural citizenship is negotiated and renegotiated over time. Seven Linfield students have worked with him in summer internships funded by student-faculty research grants.

According to Peterson, the recent state census shows continued significant increases in the Latino population in Oregon.

"I'm curious about the set of interactions that occur -- discussions and perceptions about citizenship, for example -- as the population composition changes," he said.

Peterson is also interested in local and rural changes, a contrast with most studies on this topic, which look at areas that have had large Latino and Hispanic populations over a long period of time.

"It's one thing to look at how Latinos work for change and identify with one another in East Los Angeles," he said. "It's another thing to be the first Hispanic store owner in a small town of 4,500 people. I'm interested in what happens over time, as the composition of the small towns and surrounding areas changes."

In addition to explaining the current situation in which Latinos and Hispanics find themselves in relationship to other local communities, Peterson will also question how individuals strategize and define themselves within the communities.

Peterson attended Washington State University where he received his bachelors in psychology and the University of Texas at Austin where he received a masters and Ph.D. in sociology. He has been a Linfield faculty member for the last nine years. Peterson has also served three years on the board for the Virginia Garcia Memorial Center, a public health clinic.

The Linfield College faculty lecture series offers one presentation each month by a member of the Linfield faculty. For more information, call 503-883-2409.