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dc.contributor.advisorShortridge, James R.
dc.contributor.authorBook, Maggie Latona
dc.description.abstractOlathe, a predominately white community in Kansas, went through a building boom in the late 1990s that "pulled" a wave of Hispanic immigrants into the area, a people that simultaneously were being "pushed" out of Mexico and Central America by government upheaval and economic turmoil. In this process Olathe people found they had to adapt to the new population in order to provide needed services, maintain their own culture, and ensure that local laws were observed by the immigrants. My study explores this process of change. After reviewing the historical presence of Hispanics in Olathe between 1910 and 1990 and reasons for their recent surge in numbers, I employ a multifaceted approach to examine the adaptations made by the community. This consists of cultural landscape analysis, seventy-seven detailed interviews, quantitative spatial analysis of the results, and scrutiny of Hispanic-related articles in two local newspapers. I utilize the theoretical themes of language as power, otherness, and hybridity as guides to assess the overall process, including which cultural group in the community is wielding power under various conditions and how this relationship is tied to areas of Hispanic density. Because perceptions are a guiding force for how people interact with space, I examine how interviewees' viewpoints of Hispanics and the majority's responses are affected by areas with differing Hispanic population levels. Similarly, I compare observed cultural differences with areas of differing Hispanic density. The results show that, in some cases, perceptions are impacted more by personal experience or deviations from cultural norms than by proximity to dense Hispanic locales. Several cultural differences, ways in which othering was exhibited or observed, cultural landscape types, and majority-employed adaptation methods are tied to areas having immigrant populations equal or greater than eight percent. Using an agglomeration of interview and landscape-analysis data, I also create a timeline of adaptation by the Olathe community and discuss the sequence of change in the city. My research finds that Olathe's churches, schools, and probation services were the earliest responders by providing language services, special services and products, and adjusting to the Hispanic culture. Other business and organizations soon followed using these same approaches. They also implemented education and partnerships about and for the immigrants, including Hispanic traditions. Finally, I describe how acculturation efforts by the majority have affected Olathe, determine a percentage threshold for when an immigrant population starts to affect a host community, and suggest adaptation methods other communities may find useful.
dc.format.extent235 pages
dc.publisherUniversity of Kansas
dc.rightsThis item is protected by copyright and unless otherwise specified the copyright of this thesis/dissertation is held by the author.
dc.subjectCultural landscape analysis
dc.subjectMajority adaptation
dc.subjectMental maps
dc.subjectPost-colonial theory
dc.titleHispanics in the suburbs - Community adaptation in Olathe, Kansas
dc.contributor.cmtememberMyers, Garth A.
dc.contributor.cmtememberO'Lear, Shannon
dc.contributor.cmtememberSlocum, Terry A.
dc.contributor.cmtememberSwann, Michael M
kusw.oapolicyThis item does not meet KU Open Access policy criteria.

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