Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

(8) Representations and Policies: Race, Gender, and Immigration

3/22/2018
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Location: Delaware Suite B, Lobby Level

How did representations of migrants from Asia change from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century?  How did those images both reflect and shape public policy?  This panel uses the symbiosis between discursive representations and legislative acts to explore the permeability of seemingly fixed categories—whether defined by race, gender, or law—at two historical moments: one hostile to immigrants from Asia, the other seemingly more sympathetic.  Constance Chen and Stephen McDowall explore the politics of imagining Asia/otherness during the turn-of-the twentieth century.  Chen analyzes the ways in which nineteenth-century portrayals of Chinese and Japanese femininity and masculinity shaped the development of exclusionist legislations in the U.S.  McDowall considers the relationship between Edwardian public anxiety about racial pollution and government anti-opium policies in London's Chinatown.   Lisa Tran and Sam Vong discuss refugees from Vietnam within the context of Cold War geopolitics and mid-twentieth-century shifts in immigration policy.  Focusing on Australia, Canada and the U.S., Tran argues that conceptualizing “refugee” as a discursive site rather than a fixed identity highlights the fluidity between “refugee” and “immigrant.”  Vong examines how Vietnamese refugee women lobbied for the release of reeducation camp prisoners in Vietnam by mobilizing a human rights discourse during the Reagan era, transforming themselves into activists, diplomats, and community leaders.  Together, these papers explore the interplay between representations of peoples from East and Southeast Asia and changing international politics, institutional agendas, and immigration policies between the mid-nineteenth and late twentieth century.  

Presentations:

Constance Chen

Loyola Marymount University, California

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Lisa Tran

California State University, Fullerton, California

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Constance Chen

Loyola Marymount University, California

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Constance Chen

Loyola Marymount University, California

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Stephen McDowall

University of Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Lisa Tran

California State University, Fullerton, California

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Sam Vong

University of Texas at Austin, Texas

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