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AMERICAN DREAMers: Stories of Immigration

Friday, May 18, 2018

2:00 PM-3:30 PM

Political Art and Personal Connection
Coffee & Conversation with Melissa Dunphy


Dunphy’s talk will be moderated by Drexel political science professor Amelia Hoover Green, who will discuss political science findings related to the politics of immigration and the role of art in social movements.

About Melissa Dunphy
Philadelphia composer Melissa Dunphy is well known in contemporary music circles for her settings of political speech. Dunphy's "The Gonzales Cantata" created a 40-minute choral work from verbatim Senate Judiciary Committee testimony. Her purposefully challenging setting of the U.S. Oath of Allegiance draws attention to the contradictions of American citizenship. And "What Do You Think I Fought For at Omaha Beach" tackles same-sex marriage rights via the words of World War II veteran Phillip Spooner before the Maine State Senate.

Dunphy's new work, American DREAMers, was commissioned by Philadelphia chamber choir PhilHarmonia as the capstone to its 2017-2018 season. Running about 20 minutes, it sets the first-person experiences of five Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries to a range of musical styles. Dunphy, an immigrant herself, sees music as a way to cross political boundaries.

That is, political music — like all political art — opens new spaces for conversation. American DREAMers emphasizes individual names and stories in the context of a national conversation often dominated by abstraction and stereotype. Dunphy's Drexel talk is likely to range across many topics,from making a living as an artist, to her experience as an immigrant woman of color, to the question of when music can change minds.

The world premiere of American DREAMers will be performed at 8 p.m. on June 2, 2018 at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. See PhilHarmonia for more details!

These events are co-sponsored by Drexel University's College of Arts and Sciences, International Students and Scholar Services, the Department of Politics, and the Department of Global Studies and Languages.

Contact Information

Amelia Hoover Green, PhD

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ExCITe Center, 3401 Market Street, 1st floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104
Open to the public; ID required for sign in at the front desk


  • Everyone