Immigration and Urban History Seminar Policing Migrants and Militants: In Defense of Nation and Empire in the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands Seminars are free and open to the public; RSVP required.
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13 March 2012.Tuesday, 5:15PM - 7:15PM Kornel S. Chang, Rutgers University, Newark Comment: Naoko Shibusawa, Brown University

The problem of policing the U.S.-Canadian boundary, initiated under Chinese exclusion in 1882, evolved into a multi-faceted, multi-racial challenge by the early twentieth century. The threats posed by Chinese and Japanese migrants and smugglers and white and South Asian radicals brought the United States, Canada, and Britain together in defense of national and imperial borders in the North American West. Collectively, these self-proclaimed white men's countries developed a transnational surveillance network to police illegal migrants, monitor and track revolutionary nationalists, and suppress labor militancy and revolt across the U.S.-Canadian boundary and across the Pacific. This presentation looks at the formation of the northern border, showing how it was a product of intercolonial cooperation and exchange in which Anglophone empires supported each other's prerogative to imperial rule in Asia and the Pacific. In doing so, it argues that Asiatic exclusion was as much about defending and preserving the empire as it was about keeping out undesirable and inassimilable foreigners.

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