Professor Gross

Today, Amy and I met with Stephan Gross who is the Archive Director and Associate Professor of History to discuss some different perspectives on our project. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with Professor Gross, because he was able to narrow our interests in some ways and expand our research searches. When we were discussing the similarities between the Apostolic community and the Latino’s assimilation patterns, Gross mentioned that “no one fully assimilates.” This is interesting because assimilation is a very important part of the rhetoric around Immigrant and migratory groups. This is bread from what I believe is a nativist perspective that values some cultures over others. But when it comes to Minnesota and Minnesotans, many have agreed that we are people who, “work hard and honor our families.” When Professor Gross brought up this notion, I was intrigued to hear that all of his “research” on this concept was strictly out of oral history and could be found in everything from Ole and Lena jokes to state political rhetoric. Midwesterners are known for being very connected to their roots and the idea of “chain migration” was brought up. I had very little background knowledge on the idea of chain migration and was even more interested to know that the Apostolic church sent scouts to the area to check if there was plentiful land and positive prospects. The last word that Steven had for us was that we have become “so infatuated with difference that we stopped looking at what has [has connected and] connects us.” This final idea left me inspired and excited to continue pursuing this project with more and more focus.

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