Distinguished Dissertation Award – Summer 2023 – Marina Choy

I received my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Toulouse Jean Jaures, in France, before joining the Rhetoric, Theory and Culture doctoral program at Michigan Tech in 2017. During the last stages of my dissertation in Fall 2022, I began working as a full-time faculty member and Writing Center manager at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology near Albuquerque, NM. I am now in the midst of moving to Baltimore, MD to start a new position at Johns Hopkins University in Fall 2023.

My dissertation, “Articulating Nationalism through the “Problem of Immigration:” the Case of Foreign Unaccompanied Minors in France” examines how far-right nationalist logics and discourses permeate and articulate the system of protection of foreign unaccompanied minors in France, in the recent context of the so-called European “migrant crisis.” In-depth interviews with child welfare social workers revealed that the very structure and design of the system of protection of foreign minors, articulated through cultural and political perspectives hostile to (im)migration, compromises the protection and chances of integration of this group from the get-go. This case study illustrates national institutional responses to contemporary migration events, and explores the articulation of the question of immigration as a driving force of contemporary nationalism.

I am deeply grateful for my dissertation advisor, Dr. Patricia Sotirin, who has mentored and supported me through my PhD journey and beyond. I would also like to thank my co-advisor Dr. Jennifer Slack, whose feedback was always immensely helpful and critical to my progress, and Dr. Andy Fiss, for his endorsement and support with several professional projects. Thank you all for your support and for endorsing this nomination.