Jason Oliver Chang, "Chino: Anti-Chinese Racism in Mexico, 1880-1940" (U Illinois Press, 2017)

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Summary

In his new book, Chino: Anti-Chinese Racism in Mexico, 1880-1940 (University of Illinois Press, 2017), Jason Oliver Chang (University of Connecticut) traces the evolution of the Chinese in Mexico from "disposable laborers" (motores de sangre, or "engines of blood") to "killable subjects" to "pernicious defilers." Applying an Asian Americanist critique to the political and intellectual history of modern Mexico, Chang revises conventional explanations of the relationship between mestizo national identity and anti-Chinese racism by showing that the former did not lead to the latter. Rather, antichinismo shaped the development of that identity through its emphases on gender and sexuality, eugenics, public health, and other modes of social control in pursuit of "self-colonization." Throughout the book, Chang remains attentive to regional and class differences in the penetration of this ideology, and also shows how Chinese migrants organized among themselves and across racial lines to resist displacement and violence. As a history of racialized statecraft in the Americas, Chino adds to growing body of scholarship on Western hemispheric Asian American studies and Orientalism.
Ian Shin is C3-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in the History Department at Bates College, where his teaching and research focus on the history of the U.S. in the world and Asian American history. He is currently completing a book manuscript on the politics of Chinese art collecting in the United States in the early 20th century. Ian welcomes listener questions and feedback at kshin@bates.edu.

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