Lilia Soto gives talk on Napa Valley identity and narratives

Picking Sauvignon Blanc grapes at Ehlers Estate winery Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 in St. Helena, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

WyGISC and the University of Wyoming Geography Department’s Brown Bag series, “All Things Geography,” invited Assistant Professor Lilia Soto to give a lecture, entitled “What’s in the Roots? Identity and Narratives of the Napa Valley,” on Friday, February 27, 2015, at the Arts & Sciences Building. Soto presented recent research she has been conducting on the hidden narratives of the Napa Valley, particularly related to immigration and the people involved in making Napa Valley wineries a world-class tourist destination. The Porchlight was delighted to attend the presentation and follow-up with a Q&A with Soto.

Porchlight: You said you were studying a group of girls in Mexico as a comparison to female immigrants in Napa Valley, but did not mention it further in your presentation. Could you elaborate on the comparisons you are finding with these two focus groups?

Lilia Soto: Well, the difference between Mexican immigrant young women (I’m still debating whether I should refer to them as “girls” or young women) and adult Mexican immigrant women is access to resources—social capital, networks—that facilitates migration processes. In my current project, I make the argument that young Mexican immigrant women (“girls”) do not have access to networks or social capital because they are young and because they are girls. In other words, I look at the intersections of age and sex as having a bearing on girls’ migration desires.

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