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Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America Paperback – 15 April 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 ratings

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 1 edition (15 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691160821
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691160825
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Boxed-product Weight: 476 g
  • Customer Reviews: 4.4 out of 5 stars19 customer ratings

Product description

Review

Winner of the 2005 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize, American Studies AssociationWinner of the 2005 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, Organization of American HistoriansHonorable Mention for the 2005 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human RightsCo-Winner of the 2004 History Book Award, Association for Asian American StudiesCo-Winner of the 2004 First Book Prize, Berkshire Conference of Women HistoriansWinner of the 2004 Littleton-Griswold Prize, American Historical AssociationOne of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004Winner of the 2004 Theodore Saloutos Book Award, Immigration and Ethnic History Society' deeply stimulating work. . . . Ngai's undeniable premise--as pertinent today as ever--is that the lawfully regulated part of our immigration system is only the tip of the iceberg. Even as we have allowed legal immigrants, mostly from Europe, through the front door, we have always permitted others, generally people of color, to slip in the back gate to do essential jobs.'--Tamar Jacoby, Los Angeles Times Book Review'Ngai pulls no punches, arguing that in most cases . . . illegal were stigmatized by negative racial stereotypes and branded as dangerous. . . . t belongs in every library and should be referenced in every ethnic studies course.'--Choice'Ngai has produced a valuable reinterpretation of twentieth-century American immigration history, one that will push other scholars of race, immigration, and policy in new directions as well.'--Charlotte Brooks, Journal of American History'Ngai's book is a stunning piece of scholarship. . . . or background reading of 'illegal immigration' that takes a broader view, this is an outstanding book.'--David M. Reimers, International History Review'May Impossible Subjects indeed lead to bold changes? Ngai creates that possibility, through altering our vision of immigration history, in showing us the constructed and contingent nature of its legal regulation. Impossible Subjects is essential reading.'--Leti Volpp, Michigan Law Review'Impossible Subjects offers an important contribution to U.S. histories of race, citizenship, and immigration. This stunning history of U.S. immigration policy dispels the liberal rhetoric that underlies popular notions of immigrant America, as it establishes the designation of Asians and Mexicans as perpetual racial others. Everyone in the field of race and immigration should read this thought provoking book.'--Rhacel Salazar Parre?as, American Journal of Sociology'This superb book by historian Mae Ngai addresses the emergence of the legal and social category of 'illegal immigrant' in the United States. . . . Ngai addresses the subject . . . in a variety of historical contexts and each casts a different light on their deeply ambiguous condition.'--Linda Bosniak, Journal of International Migration and Integration'Moving beyond the telos of immigrant settlement, assimilation, and citizenship and the myth of 'immigrant America,' Mae Ngai's Impossible Subjects conceptualizes immigration not as a site for assessing the acceptability of the immigrants, but as a site for understanding the racialized economic, cultural, and political foundations of the United States.'--Yen Le Espiritu, Western Historical Quarterly'Mae Ngai's book . . . offers a fascinating reinterpretation and critique of the United States as a mythicized 'nation of immigrants.' Ngai demonstrates the critical role that colonialism, foreign policy considerations and racial politics played in shaping U.S. immigration and national identity. . . . Ngai's book is an extraordinary contribution to U.S. immigration history and a stimulating read.'--Dr. Alison Pennington, Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law

From the Back Cover

"While vernacular discussion of the so-called 'illegal alien' in the United States has generally fixed on the alien side of the equation, Mae Ngai's luminous new book focuses rather on the illegal--the bureaucratic and ideological machinery within legislatures and the courts--that has created a very particular kind of pariah group. Impossible subjects is a beautifully executed and important contribution: judicious yet impassioned, crisply written, eye-opening, and at moments fully devastating. All of which is to say, brilliant. Would that such a story need not be told."--Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University, author of Barbarian Virtues: the United states Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917

"In Impossible Subjects' Mae Ngai has written a stunning history of U.S. immigration policy and practice in that often forgotten period, 1924-1965. Employing rich archival evidence and case studies, Ngai marvelously shows how immigration law was used as a tool to fashion American racial policy particularly toward Asians and Mexicans though the differential employment of concepts such as "illegal aliens," "national origins," and "racial ineligibility to citizenship." For those weaned on the liberal rhetoric of an immigrant America this will be a most eye-opening read."--Ramon A. Gutierrez, author, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1848.

"Impossible Subjects' makes an outstanding contribution to U.S. histories of race and citizenship. Ngai's excellent discussions of the figure of the illegal alien, and laws regarding immigration and citizenship, demonstrate the history of U.S. citizenship as an institution that produces racial differences. This history explains why struggles over race, immigration, and citizenship continue today."--Lisa Lowe, UC San Diego, author of Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics

"At the cutting edge of the new interdisciplinary and global immigration history, Ngai unpacks the place of 'illegal aliens' in the construction of modern American society and nationality. Theoretically nuanced, empirically rich, and culturally sensitive, the book offers a powerful vista of how the core meaning of 'American' was shaped by those--Filipinos, Mexicans, Chinese, and Japanese--held in liminal status by the law."--David Abraham, Professor of Law, University of Miami

Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
19 customer ratings
5 star 69% (69%) 69%
4 star 16% (16%) 16%
3 star 8% (8%) 8%
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RDD
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Examination of the Hardening of America's Racial Identity
Reviewed in the United States on 20 February 2017
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Nathan A Miller
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong Examination of Immigration Issues
Reviewed in the United States on 12 January 2020
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Alan H. Usher
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a textbook.
Reviewed in the United States on 21 January 2019
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grace
5.0 out of 5 stars Illegal aliens are from all countries
Reviewed in the United States on 5 September 2014
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Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Boring!!
Reviewed in the United States on 12 May 2020
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Dianita
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read!!
Reviewed in the United States on 7 January 2015
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sihuaqiang
5.0 out of 5 stars a good book
Reviewed in the United States on 14 October 2018
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Old hoosier
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended to anyone who wants to understand how we got ...
Reviewed in the United States on 6 June 2016
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E.CASAS
5.0 out of 5 stars tough read
Reviewed in the United States on 6 March 2015
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SH
5.0 out of 5 stars Good discussion points
Reviewed in the United States on 2 June 2016
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Ryan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United States on 13 February 2017
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RJ
1.0 out of 5 stars She has a racist rant regarding Japanese Americans on page ...
Reviewed in the United States on 3 June 2016
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