Event—Adult Education

Documenting the Undocumented in Contemporary Fiction


Follow the story of a Colombian family traversing the borders that keep them apart.

Andes Poster, Don Thomas Collection of the San Diego Air and Space Museum. Source: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive via Flickr.

Class Description

Common representations of immigrants are often distorted, creating national and global anxiety toward human migration. We will complicate and humanize these representations by examining literary depictions of mestizo (interracial and interculturally mixed) undocumented immigrants in the novel Infinite Country (2021) by Patricia Engel of Colombia.

Drawing from a close reading of this novel, the course examines how undocumented immigrant characters turn to spirituality—ancestral Indigenous knowledge and Western technologies—to cope with the challenges of migrating and remaining undocumented in the United States.

Become acquainted with the historical and colonial context of migration from Latin America to the United States, and learn to understand migration as a sociopolitical phenomenon that occurs on a progressively more profound level.

Gabriela Buitrón Vera of Quito, Ecuador is a researcher and educator currently working in the Department of Modern Languages at Loyola University Chicago. Her research draws together debates about disaster narratives and migration.

Materials List


  • Patricia Engel, Infinite Country. Avid Reader Press, 2021. ISBN: 978-1982159467

First Reading

  • Read pages 1-27 before the first meeting.

Cost and Registration

6 Sessions, $200 ($180 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

We now offer our classes at three different price options: Regular ($200), Community Supported ($190), and Sponsor ($210). Following the models of other institutions, we want to ensure that our classes are accessible to a wider audience while continuing to support our instructors. You may choose the price that best fits your situation when registering through Learning Stream.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


Support the Newberry

Your generosity is vital in keeping the library’s programs, exhibitions, and reading rooms free and accessible to everyone.

Make a Gift


Call us at (312) 255-3700 or send us an email at adulteducation@newberry.org.

Email Us