The History Faculty New Book Series presents:
A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: U.S. Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965
(University of Illinois Press, 2019)
Co-edited by Maddalena Marinari, Madeline Y. Hsu, and María Cristina Garcia
A book talk and discussion with
Dr. Madeline Y. Hsu
Professor of History, and
Faculty Affiliate of Asian American Studies, Asian Studies, and Mexican American and Latina_o Studies
University of Texas at Austin
Dr. Maddalena Marinari
Associate Professor in History; Peace Studies; and
Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Gustavus Adolphus College
This talk took place on Wednesday October 14, 2020
Scholars, journalists, and policymakers have long argued that the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act dramatically reshaped the demographic composition of the United States. In A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered, leading scholars of immigration explore how the political and ideological struggles of the “age of restriction”–from 1924 to 1965–paved the way for the changes to come. The essays examine how geopolitics, civil rights, perceptions of America’s role as a humanitarian sanctuary, and economic priorities led government officials to facilitate the entrance of specific immigrant groups, thereby establishing the legal precedents for future policies. Eye-opening articles discuss Japanese war brides and changing views of miscegenation, the recruitment of former Nazi scientists, a temporary workers program with Japanese immigrants, the emotional separation of Mexican immigrant families, Puerto Rican youth’s efforts to claim an American identity, and the restaurant raids of conscripted Chinese sailors during World War II.
Contributors: Eiichiro Azuma, David Cook-Martín, David FitzGerald, Monique Laney, Heather Lee, Kathleen López, Laura Madokoro, Ronald L. Mize, Arissa H. Oh, Ana Elizabeth Rosas, Lorrin Thomas, Ruth Ellen Wasem, and Elliott Young.
“This important collection revises our understanding of a relatively understudied period in the historiography of US immigration and citizenship, the years between the institution of national origins quotas in the 1920s and their abrogation in the 1960s. As such, it deserves wide scholarly attention.”
–Kunal M. Parker, author of Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America, 1600–2000
“Bringing together essays by rising stars and established leaders in US immigration history, this volume opens our understanding of the complexities of the national origins era by highlighting understudied dynamics, advancing new periodizations, and bringing new historical actors to the fore. Taken as a whole, the essays insist on the centrality of racial-nationalist boundary-making—and of struggles to defeat it—within the broader history of the US in the world in the mid-twentieth century.”
–Paul A. Kramer, author of The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines
Dr. Madeline Y. Hsu is Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin and served as Director of the Center for Asian American Studies for eight years (2006-2014). She is president of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society and representative at large of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas. She was born in Columbia, Missouri but grew up in Taiwan and Hong Kong between visits with her grandparents at their store in Altheimer, Arkansas. She received her undergraduate degrees in History from Pomona College and PhD from Yale University. Her first book was Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882-1943 (Stanford University Press, 2000). Her most recent monograph, The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton University Press, 2015), received awards from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, and the Association for Asian American Studies. Her third book, Asian American History: A Very Short Introduction was published by Oxford University Press in 2016 and the co-edited anthology under discussion at this event, A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: U.S. Society in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965 was published in 2019 by the University of Illinois Press.
Dr. Maddalena Marinari is Associate Professor of History at Gustavus Adolphus College. She has written extensively on immigration restriction, U.S. immigration policy, and immigrant mobilization. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Policy History, Journal of Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Social Science History, and Journal of American Ethnic History. Her book Unwanted: Italian And Jewish Mobilization Against Restrictive Immigration Laws, 1882-1965 (UNC Press 2020) explores Italian and Jewish mobilization against restrictive immigration laws from 1882 to 1965. Along with Maria Cristina Garcia and Madeline Hsu, she is one of the editors of i, an anthology on the impact of immigration restriction on the United States in the twentieth century. She is the co-editor with Erika Lee of a forthcoming special issue of the Journal of American History on the centenary of the passage of the Emergency Quota Act of 1921 and the Immigration Act of 1924
Watch a roundtable discussion with the authors on “Rethinking 1924–1965 in U.S. Immigration History for Today’s World,” recorded at the Organization of American Historians annual conference, April 5-7, 2019, and aired on C-SPAN 3, on April 22, 2019.
This event was sponsored by the Institute for Historical Studies in the Department of History and the Center for European Studies.
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