Dr. Lee Maril

ECU Social Scientist Honored by National Associations for Immigration Book

East Carolina University professor of sociology, Dr. Lee Maril, recently was honored by two national associations for his research on immigration presented in his 2011 book, “The Fence: National Security, Public Safety, and Illegal Immigration Along the U.S.–Mexico Border.”

“The Fence” was selected by the Popular Culture/American Culture Association to receive the 2012 Ray and Pat Browne Award for the Best Single Work published in 2011.

On Friday, April 13, Maril attended the Popular Culture/American Culture Association’s national conference in Boston, where he received his award.

“I am honored to have received this award, which I hope will bring more attention to immigration policy in the United States and the variety of problems associated with our broken system of immigration policy dating back to the Immigration and Reform Act of 1986,” said Maril. “Among these tragic problems are the hundreds of women, young children and grandparents who needlessly die every year while illegally entering our country to find honest work and/or to rejoin their families.”

The Popular Culture Association was founded in 1971 by professors and scholars Ray Browne, of Bowling Green State University; and Russell Nye, of Michigan State University. In 1979 the PCA formed a partnership with the American Culture Association, creating a joint, national conference held each year with more than 2,000 participants. In addition, there are regional associations throughout the country and international conferences in Finland and Poland.

In addition to winning the award from the PCA/ACA, Maril’s book also was nominated by the Texas Institute of Letters as one of three finalists for their 2011 award for Best Scholarly Book. The Texas Institute of Letters is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to stimulate interest in Texas letters and to recognize distinctive literary achievement. Joining Maril’s book as finalists were books published by Yale University Press and the University of Texas Press. The award was announced at a banquet during the society’s annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday, April 14. Although, Maril did not win, he said he considered it an honor for his book to be considered for the award in the same category as the other two finalists.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Maril received his B.A. degree from Grinnell College, his M.A. degree from Indiana University-Bloomington and his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to coming to eastern North Carolina, Maril taught at Oklahoma State University for 10 years. He has been at ECU for nine years, and currently serves as the founding director of the Center for Diversity and Inequality Research and professor of sociology in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences.

Maril has conducted research on the Mexican border for most of his career. His previous book, “Patrolling Chaos: The United States Border Patrol in Deep South Texas,” led to his testimony before the United States Congress on three separate occasions, most recently at the immigration field hearings in Dubuque, Iowa. To date, his research has contributed to two bills in the House of Representatives and one in the Senate.

Maril is a columnist for the online, daily Homeland Security News Wire at www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/. To read more about Maril and his research, visit his personal blog and website at www.leemaril.com. For additional information, contact Maril at 252-328-6147, or via email at marilr@ecu.edu.