What is the central argument of your text of choice?
In American by Paper: How Documents Matter in Immigrant Literacy, Kate Vieira argues that papers and literacy work hand in hand to help immigrants make it in the United States. By papers, Vieira is referring to documents such as visas, passports, birth certificates, diplomas, and green cards.

What are two pertinent sub-arguments of your text?
1. Papers can free or trap immigrants. For immigrants, papers are the difference between an opportunity for national belonging or the evidence of their exclusion.
2. It is increasingly difficult to get by without these papers in our documentary society. By documentary society, Vieira is referring to the ubiquitous nature of literacy and texts in daily life. Most prominently, these papers are needed to make an immigrant legible and legitimate to the state and the government. However, elementary schools, universities, and the local Department of Motor Vehicles – amongst many others – increasingly require immigration documentation.

Explain how your group will, collectively, remediate your text.
In an effort to demonstrate the impact that papers can have on an immigrant’s life, our group will make explicit connections with and relationships between pieces of textual evidence and the implications on daily life. There are many aspects to this such as work, school, income, housing, and so on, which are great places to start with this project and ideas that we can collectively tackle. By using similar elements in each of our artifacts, but using different topics and media, we can craft a full picture of the impact of papers on daily life.

Provide a brief description of each of your groups member’s artifacts: what media and how each one will work to remediate your text.
Heather – I will be crafting one or two papers, such as a birth certificate or passport, and replacing things such as place of birth, status, etc. with meaningful implications for those things. For example, what does being born in Hinsdale, Illinois mean for my life? What does this impact? This will specifically look at impacts these documents have in the United States.

Natalie – I am interested in making a GIF, drawing or collage-type art piece that represents the disparity between immigrants with and without papers and how that simple difference affects the lives of each subject respectively in reference to freedoms afforded or denied in school, work and the “privileges” of driving and purchasing a house. By using a combination of pictures and words/text to remediate the text, the viewer will (hopefully) understand the argument of the text in full without having to read 200 words of text. Ultimately, my goal is to create a comprehensive art piece that heavily synthesizes the text, yet doesn’t leave out the key elements that make it important and a valuable concern to consider.

Jalen – TBD

April – I will be making a website about immigration that would satirically explain the bureaucratic procedures needed to be granted visas and citizenship, and the possible consequences and implications of these procedures. The website could also have a section that cites the book and links to other sites about immigration and immigrant literacy.


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