Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in International & Global Studies: International Development and University Honors
International and Global Studies
Refugees -- Oregon -- Portland, Immigrants -- Oregon -- Portland, Cultural property, East Africa -- Immigrants -- Oregon -- Social aspects
Cultural displacement is an effect of gentrification taking place in Northeast Portland, Oregon. The work of Hyra (2015) and Abrahamson (2005) is applied to the Eastern African enclave in Northeast Portland, which has worked to maintain attachments to their home countries and culture and recreate places of community they had in their homeland. I used qualitative research to collect data in the form of interviews with members of this enclave to highlight the negative consequences of displacement within a community. I also interviewed employees at housing organizations who work with immigrants and refugees, a documentary filmmaker who focuses on issues of gentrification and displacement, and an affordable housing developer.
Having arrived in the U.S. as refugees fleeing war, placemaking has been an essential part in refugees’ struggle to develop agency and social solidarity. Additionally placemaking gives immigrants and refugees the opportunity to preserve their country’s culture by creating spaces where their heritage is celebrated and actively maintained through the means of socialization and participation in long-held traditions and customs.
The work of Hunter (2016), which describes Black placemaking, is applied to the Eastern African enclave in Portland. The paper seeks to answer the question: In what ways does displacement affect placemaking? Taking away these spaces from immigrant and refugee communities takes away their agency by eliminating the spaces in which they create social ties, memories, and shared experiences. It also takes away the collective power they have developed over time to resist the harmful effects of larger power structures.
Robidoux, Julianna I., "Cycles of Displacement: The Experience of Immigrants and Refugees from East Africa in Northeast Portland" (2019). University Honors Theses. Paper 765.