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Ryan Dearinger is an associate professor of history at EOU and author.
February 4, 2016
LA GRANDE, Ore. (EOU) – Ryan Dearinger will share selections from his new book “The Filth of Progress: Immigrants, Americans and the Building of Canals and Railroads in the West,” Friday, March 4 at Looking Glass Books.
In his latest work published by University of California Press, Dearinger, an associate professor of history at Eastern Oregon University, delves into a dark and often-untold part of America’s past.
Dearinger shares selections from “The Filth of Progress” March 4 at Looking Glass Books.
The timeline spans the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 to the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in 1869, and focuses on the workers who built these canals and railroad systems.
“While the story is a 19th century one, it is particularly relevant today amid ongoing debates over immigration, race and ethnicity, the working class, citizenship and national belonging,” Dearinger said.
His research brings to the forefront the suffering of Irish and Chinese immigrants, Mormons, and native-born citizens whose labor created the West’s infrastructure and turned the nation’s dreams of a continental empire into a reality.
While it weaves a collective narrative of their survival on the economic fringes of society, the book also moves beyond the trenches of construction labor to address the popular writers, artists, statesmen and cultural commentators who performed the important work of celebrating progress.
The reading starts at 6 p.m. at the bookstore at 1118 Adams Avenue. It is free, open to the public and copies of the book will be available to purchase. JaxDog Café will provide light refreshments.
Support for this event comes from the EOU Foundation, which awarded Dearinger a small grant toward the publication of his book.
EOU’s College of Arts and Sciences also provided funding for the project with a summer research stipend, and Dearinger received additional financial support from multiple external sources.
For more information call University Advancement at 541-962-3740.
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