APSU hosting free screening, discussion of immigration documentary “Welcome to Shelbyville”
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The town of Shelbyville is about two hours south of Austin Peay State University, and most Clarksville residents only make the journey to visit family or friends or, along with thousands of others from around the world, to watch the grand spectacle known as the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration each summer.
But in 2009, this small, rural community became a focal point for the nation’s ongoing immigration debate. That year, PBS aired a new documentary, “Welcome to Shelbyville,” which presented a town where, according to the channel’s website, “longtime African American and white residents are challenged with how best to integrate with a growing Latino population and the more recent arrival of hundreds of Muslim Somali refugees.”
At 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, Austin Peay will host a special screening of the film in room 103BC of the Morgan University Center, and the community is invited to participate in this event.
“It’s free and open to all, including the wider Clarksville community, and we welcome people to join in on post-screening discussions on immigration and refugee issues,” Dr. Neeta Bhasin, APSU assistant professor of languages and literature, said.
The documentary is the final movie in this spring’s “Crossing Borders Film Series,” which paired immigration-themed movies with presentations by APSU faculty members. The series was developed as part of Bhasin’s service-learning course, “Exploring Immigrant Experiences and Narratives.”
In this class, students study the history of immigration and explore immigrant experiences in the U.S., while also serving local and regional community organizations that support immigrants and refugees. In addition to coordinating the film series, students visited immigrant communities in Georgia, and they are working with Tennessee immigrant and refugee rights organizations in Nashville.
The APSU Center for Service-Learning and Community Engagement works with faculty to develop service-learning courses each semester. Students in these courses are expected to engage in academic service learning that includes participating in 13-15 hours of community service a semester.
For information on the upcoming film, the film series or the service-learning class, contact Bhasin at email@example.com.