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Interpretive Themes

The following overarching interpretive themes are woven into all aspects of the educational material and stories provided on the PCIM website currently and in the future.

The Borders that Divide/The Ties that Bind deals with the process of immigration, the galvanizing factors of immigration and migration, and the common objective of becoming American. The concept of What it Means to Be an American would be a major subtheme under the larger umbrella of The Ties that Bind. Other topics of this theme area include how we define ourselves as Americans, what is American culture, and forecasting our population make up and identity in the future.

(Explore a world map or interactive timeline for waves of migration and immigration...)

Common Experiences/Common Ground utilizes personal immigration and migration experiences to illustrate similarities in structural forces leading to immigration or migration, the journey to America, and the process of adapting to life in a new land. Major topics under this theme include the search for freedom, the acculturation process, sojourner mentality, opportunities for new immigrants, and overall trends in racial and ethnic migration patterns.

The theme Struggles and Contributions also uses personal experiences, but to contrast triumphs and successes with hardships and failure in order to better understand the full spectrum of immigration experiences. Struggles of first generation immigrants, cultural conflicts between generations, the melding of cultures and changes in the meaning of cultural identity are universal struggles facing immigrants. Contributions of immigrants to American society form the other half of this theme. Immigrants are a mainstay of the American labor force, serve in the military, and contribute to the economy on an everyday basis. Immigrants have also made extraordinary discoveries and created inventions that have enhanced and improved our lives.
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