Jay Timothy Dolmage, "Disabled Upon Arrival: Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race" (OSU Press, 2018)


On this episode of the New Books Network, Lee Pierce (s/t) interviews Jay Timothy Dolmage of the University of Waterloo on the new book Disabled Upon Arrival: Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race and Disability (Ohio State University Press, 2018), a compelling examination of the spaces, technologies, and discourses of immigration restriction during the peak period of North American immigration in the early twentieth century. In North America, immigration has never been about immigration. That was true in the early twentieth century when anti-immigrant rhetoric led to draconian crackdowns on the movement of bodies, and it is true today as new measures seek to construct migrants as dangerous and undesirable. Through careful archival research and consideration of the larger ideologies of racialization and xenophobia, Disabled Upon Arrival links anti-immigration rhetoric to eugenics—the flawed “science” of controlling human population based on racist and ableist ideas about bodily values. Dolmage casts an enlightening perspective on immigration restriction, showing how eugenic ideas about the value of bodies have never really gone away and revealed how such ideas and attitudes continue to cast groups and individuals as disabled upon arrival. Thanks to OSU Press for providing Disabled Upon Arrival for free through the OSU Knowledge Bank (may require in Institutional subscription). Click here to access a PDF of disabled upon arrival. You can also find an open access version of Jay’s previous book, Academic Ableism, courtesy of the University of Waterloo Arts Research Office. Click here to access Academic Ableism. Connect with Jay on Twitter @jaydolmage Connect with your host,
Lee Pierce, on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook @rhetoriclee for interview previews, the best book selfies, and new episode alerts.

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Lee Pierce

Lee M. Pierce (she/they) is an Assistant Professor at SUNY Geneseo specializing in rhetoric, race, and U.S. political culture. They also host the Media & Communications and Language channels for New Books Network and their own podcast titled RhetoricLee Speaking.
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