Wither Asian America: Asian Americans and the specter of immigration reform, 1968-1975

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-2425-7498
Luo, Jing, History - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Milov, Sarah, AS-History, University of Virginia

This thesis explores the historical moment between 1968 and 1975, when the Asian American movement’s attempt to develop a rooted politics of cultural nationalism collided with new waves of Asian immigration and the ways in which those immigrants were represented. While both white and Asian liberals embraced Asian arrivals as “good immigrants” and ideal subjects, leftist Asian American activists had no such clear-cut relationship to the future new immigrants posed. In some cases, as with Little Tokyo’s redevelopment struggle, immigrants represented the invasion of destructive foreign capital. In others, immigrants were exploited workers in need of organizing or useful allies in an international struggle. The Asian American movement’s struggle to define its relationship to Asian immigrants indicates that what being Asian American meant and who the community included was a perpetually unsettled issue, even during the presumed height of the movement’s influence and internal coherence during the Long Sixties.

MA (Master of Arts)
Asian American movement, 20th c US, immigration
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