"Higher Rises, Lower Depths": Asian Americans and globalization, 1967-1996

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 (HIST), University of Virginia

"'Higher Rises, Lower Depths': Asian Americans and Globalization" explores the relationship between economic globalization in the United States during the late 20th century and the development of Asian American politics. Examining the local interactions between Asian and Asian American immigrants, capitalists, activists, and politicians in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Oakland, this dissertation argues that Asian American institutions integrated themselves into mainstream American political life by leveraging their proximity to globalization and its effects. In the process, investing in Asian American communities became a way for local governments and civic organizations to manage the widening inequalities caused by globalization by using the instruments of minority rights.

"'Higher Rises, Lower Depths'" revises our narrative of the urban crisis, which currently focuses almost exclusively on how capital and labor left the cities for the suburbs. By focusing on the arrival of Asian capital and immigrants to California's metropolises, I show how local governments and civic institutions drew on foreign sources to help transition their cities into the post-industrial future. In the process, Asian Americans simultaneously became both more valuable and more vulnerable. Asian American urban neighborhoods became desirable magnets for real estate investment, business travel, and tourism within their evolving "world cities," allowing some lucky individuals to achieve new heights of wealth and influence. At the same time however, the vast majority of these cities' Asian American residents experienced globalization as a source of greater job insecurity, rising rents, and the deepening threat of racial violence.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
asian american history, globalization, urban history, labor history, immigration history, California
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