December 2: Mae Ngai: “Yellow and Gold: Chinese Gold Miners and the ‘Chinese Question’ in Pacific-World Settler Colonies, 1848-1910”

In this Washington History Seminar presentation, Mae Ngai addressed two transpacific circulations in the late-19th century — the movement of Chinese to the gold rushes of the Pacific world, including the forms of work and social organization that they brought with them from southern China and southeast Asia and their local adaptions; and the circulation and evolution of anti-Chinese racial politics from North America to Australia to South Africa, which led to restrictive and exclusionary measures. The research is comparative and transnational; and empirical as well as discursive.

Mae Ngai is Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies at Columbia, and currently a Fellow at the Wilson Center, where she is researching and writing Yellow and Gold. She is author of the award-winning Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton 2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2010 and forthcoming in 2014 in Chinese from Commercial Press, Beijing and National Taiwan Normal Univ. Press, Taipei), and editor of Major Problems in American Immigration History, 2nd ed. (2011).

A webcast and podcast will be available here a few weeks after the seminar.