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"What if Laura Wilder's books can be seen as a guiding beacon for our state’s future, which includes immigrants to Wisconsin who—like Wilder herself—risked everything to start life in a new land?"

Laura Ingalls Wilder: Global Migration and Midwestern Sensibilities

presented by Emily Anderson

Laura Ingalls Wilder is an American icon, known for her novels about her family’s experience as American pioneers in the 1870s. But does her Little House on the Prairie series have meaning for today’s immigrants and refugees to the Midwest? Indeed it does. Now the themes of courage, hard work, and dedication to family and tradition play out in modern riffs, such as hit Canadian TV series Little Mosque on the Prairie and Minneapolis-based blog Little Laos on the Prairie. Contemporary immigrants have adapted the iconic pioneer girl’s story about overland migration to explore current immigration controversies, facts, and myths. In this talk, Anderson will open a discussion about how immigration is perceived today in light of American history, ideals, and representations in pop culture.


Emily Anderson

Dr. Emily Anderson is a writer, literary scholar and City Council member in her hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Emily’s writing has appeared in a wide variety of publications such as The Atlantic, Harper’s, and McSweeney’s. She is the author of two books, Little: Novels and Fifteen and Change (using the pen name Max Howard). In 2017, she earned her PhD in English from SUNY-Buffalo. Her research interests include American literature, women’s writing and children’s literature.


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