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Week 3 Arrival: The Island Immigration Stations

In the first half of the 20th century, many Americans regarded immigrants as almost intrinsically dangerous – to health, to wealth, and to the American state. The 'Progressive' Era was in fact marked by virulent ‘nativism’ and even nostalgia for an imagined American past (an irony that was observed even by contemporary commentators). Historical scholarship has often painted the immigration stations at Ellis Island and Angel Island as a specific response to these concerns. They were certainly both sites in which medical professionals and public health workers actively strove to address fears about ‘undesirable’ immigrants through scientific and organizational innovation. But why did anti-immigrant sentiments so often focus on migrants as a threat to the nation’s health? Were public perceptions of the risks posed by imported disease (and its unclean importers) realistic? What other factors played into fears of immigrant bodies -- and how did they shape and reflect the screening processes and 'medical gaze' at America’s borders? Finally, why were practices at the two stations so different – and so differently remembered?

Required Readings:

 All Students:

AND the readings for your group, as specified below:

Group 1

Ellis Island Required Readings

Group 2

Angel Island Required Readings

Amy L. Fairchild, Introduction, Science at the Borders: Immigrant Medical Inspection and the Shaping of the Modern Industrial Labor Force (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003), 1-19. Course Extract

Erika Lee and Judy Yung, Angel Island Immigrant Gateway to America, pp 29-111 for experiences of migrants who passed through Angel Island. E-Book (This is very easy reading, but remember that e-books may have limitations on simultaneous usages, so don't leave it too late!)

Roxana Galusca, ‘From Fictive Ability to National Identity: Disability, Medical Inspection, and Public Health Regulations on Ellis Island’, Cultural Critique, no. 72 (2009): 137-63. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25619827.

Robert Barde & Gustavo Bobonis, 'Detention at Angel Island: First Empirical Evidence', Social Science History, vol. 30 no. 1, 2006, pp. 103-136. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/196223. Note: This article is a bit chewy, but the methodology is important!

Reading/Essay Questions:

Inclusion or exclusion: what was Ellis Island for? And why has Ellis Island become a touchstone of 'American' identity and history? (You might find it useful to think about the ways in which the Ellis Island has been commemorated/celebrated, too. You can compare it to other memorial/commemorative sites of migration using Eureka Heinrich, 'Museums, History and Migration in Australia', History Compass) and even better, in her chapter 'Paying Tribute: Migrant Memorial Walls and the 'Nation of Immigrants' (kindly made available to us by Dr Heinrich, here).

Reading/Essay Questions:

Why haven't Americans celebrated and commemorated Angel Island? What does this comparative silence tell us about differences between immigration at Angel and at Ellis Islands? Pro-tip: If you want to explore this question, have a look too at Hoskins and Maddern, 'Immigration Stations: The Regulation and Commemoration of Mobility at Angel Island, San Francisco and Ellis Island New York', Geographies of mobilities: Practices, spaces, subjects (Surrey: Ashgate, 2010): 151-166, available at www.academia.edu if you are connected, or as an E-book chapter at Warwick Library.

Discussion questions:

  • What do the differences between the medical inspection regimes at Angel and Ellis tell us about ideas of American identity and citizenship during the periods of their operation?
  • What do the historiographies of these two sites tell us about the history of migration in the US?

 

Background Readings:

General

Garland E. Allen, ‘The social and economic origins of genetic determinism: a case history of the American Eugenics Movement, 1900-1940 and its lessons for today’, Genetica - Den Haag 99 (1997): 77, E-journal.

David Gerber and Alan M. Kraut, eds, American immigration and ethnicity: a reader (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2007).

Alan M. Kraut, ‘Foreign Bodies: The Perennial Negotiation over Health and Culture in a Nation of Immigrants’, Journal of American Ethnic History 23 (2004): pp. 3-22. Electronic Journal.

Howard Markel, Alexandra Minna Stern, ‘The Foreignness of Germs: The Persistent Association of Immigrants and Disease in American Society’, Milbank Quarterly 80 (2002): 757, E-journal.

Howard Markel and Alexandra Minna Stern, "Which Face? Whose Nation? Immigration, Public Health, and the Construction of Disease at America's Ports and Borders," in Nancy Foner, Rubén G. Rumbaut, and Steven J. Gold, eds., Immigration Research for a New Century: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2000), 93-112.

Jonathan Reinarz, Past Scents: Historical Perspectives on Smell(Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2014), ‘Chapter 3 Odorous Others’, pp. 85-112. Try this for an alternative sensory perspective on prejudice, race and migration!

Ellis Island

Ronald Bayer and Amy Fairchild, ‘The Limits of Privacy: Surveillance and the Control of Disease’, Health Care Analysis 10 (2002): 19–35, E-journal

Tobias Brinkmann, ‘Why Paul Nathan Attacked Albert Ballin: The Transatlantic Mass Migration and the Privatization of Prussia's Eastern Border Inspection, 1886-1914’, Central European History 43, no. 1 (2010): 47-83. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40601019 This article covers the European side of migration to US as Ellis Island is opening, and addresses role of private firms in regulating flows of migrants and migrant bodies. It’s an unusual perspective, and worth exploring.

Lorie Conway, Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America's Immigrant Hospital (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Books, 2007).

Amy Fairchild, Science at the Borders: Immigrant Medical Inspection and the Shaping of the Modern Industrial Labor Force(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

Sarah Gualtieri, “From Internal to International Migration,” in Between Arab and White: Race and Ethnicity in the Early Syrian American Diaspora(Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009) FOR A VIEW OF 'OTHER' AND PRE-ELLIS ISLAND MIGRANTS.

David Gerber and Alan M. Kraut, eds, American immigration and ethnicity: a reader (Basingstoke: Palgrave 2007).

Nancy Green, 'A French Ellis Island? Museums, Memory and History in France and the United States', History Workshop Journal, vol. 63 no. 1, 2007, pp. 239-253. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/215840.

Alan M Kraut, Silent travelers : germs, genes, and the "immigrant menace"(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).

Alan M. Kraut, ‘Foreign Bodies: The Perennial Negotiation over Health and Culture in a Nation of Immigrants’, Journal of American Ethnic History 23 (2004): pp. 3-22. E-Journal.

Krista Maglen, ‘Importing Trachoma: The Introduction into Britain of American Ideas of an 'Immigrant Disease', 1892-1906’, Immigrants & Minorities 23 (2005): pp 80–99.

Shelley Reuter, ‘The Genuine Jewish Type: Racial Ideology and Anti-Immigrationism in Early Medical Writing about Tay-Sachs Disease’, The Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 31, Number 3, Summer 2006, pp. 291-323 Project MUSE.

Brit Tevis, '"The Hebrews Are Appearing in Court in Great Numbers": Toward a Reassessment of Early Twentieth-Century American Jewish Immigration History', American Jewish History, vol. 100 no. 3, 2016, pp. 319-347. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/ajh.2016.0051

Ellis Island E-Resources:

Ellis Island National Park: History and Stories

Images of Ellis Island at the Library of Congress

Images of Ellis Island from the Latin American Studies Organisation

Ellis Island Bibliography

You can search ALL passenger landing records here (though you must make a free account): Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

Tenement Museum (NB: Not a suitable secondary source at this level -- but it does include some useful primary sources).

National Archives and Records Administration [NARA] Immigration Records

National Archives 'Digital Vaults' (NB: this source has been designed to help teachers -- but includes some very interesting primary sources)

Angel Island

Kornel Chang, "Enforcing Transnational White Solidarity: Asian Migration and the Formation of the US-Canadian Boundary," American Quarterly, Vol. 60, No. 3 (2008): 671-96.

Yong Chen, 'In Their Own Words: The Significance of Chinese-language Sources for Studying Chinese American History', Journal of Asian American Studies, vol. 5 no. 3, 2002, pp. 243-268. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/jaas.2003.0013

Yong Chen, Chinese San Francisco, 1850-1943: A Trans-Pacific Community (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).

Lisa Chilton & Yukari Takai, 'East Coast, West Coast: Using Government Files to Study Immigration History.' Histoire sociale/Social history, vol. 48 no. 96, 2015, pp. 7-23. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/his.2015.0030 NB: FOCUS HERE IS ON CANADA -- SO A GREAT COMPARATIVE ARTICLE!

Catherine Ceniza Choy. Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History. American Encounters/Global Interactions. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003.

Peggy Christoff, 'An Archival Resource: INS Case Files on Chinese Women in the American Midwest', Journal of Women's History, vol. 10 no. 3, 1998, pp. 155-170. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/jowh.2010.0340

Amy Fairchild, Science at the Borders: Immigrant Medical Inspection and the Shaping of the Modern Industrial Labor Force(Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003).

Glen Gendzel, ‘Not Just a Golden State: Three Anglo "Rushes" in the Making of Southern California, 1880-1920’, Southern California Quarterly 90, no. 4 (2008): 349-78. US Anglo (internal migration) and the health rush.

Nancy Green, 'A French Ellis Island? Museums, Memory and History in France and the United States', History Workshop Journal, vol. 63 no. 1, 2007, pp. 239-253. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/215840.

Hidetaka Hirota, 'Exclusion on the Ground: Racism, Official Discretion, and the Quotidian Enforcement of General Immigration Law in the Pacific Northwest Borderland', American Quarterly, vol. 69 no. 2, 2017, pp. 347-370. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/aq.2017.0031

Estelle T. Lau, Paper Families: Identity, Immigration Administration, and Chinese Exclusion, (Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006).

Erika Lee, “A History Lesson for Donald Trump,” New York Daily News, August 18, 2015

Erika Lee and Judy Yung, Angel Island Immigrant Gateway to America (Oxford: OUP, 2010). (reviewed here: Erika Lee, 'Chinese San Francisco, China in America', Reviews in American History, vol. 29 no. 3, 2001, pp. 417-423. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/rah.2001.0048)

Krista Maglen, ‘Importing Trachoma: The Introduction into Britain of American Ideas of an 'Immigrant Disease', 1892-1906’, Immigrants & Minorities 23 (2005): pp 80–99.

Adam McKeown,”Conceptualizing Chinese Diasporas, 1842 to 1949,” Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 58, No. 2 (1999): 306-337.

Anna Pegler-Gordon, 'Chinese Exclusion, Photography, and the Development of U.S. Immigration Policy', American Quarterly, vol. 58 no. 1, 2006, pp. 51-77. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/aq.2006.0032

Robert Shaffer, '“A Missionary from the East to Western Pagans”: Kagawa Toyohiko’s 1936 U.S. Tour.' Journal of World History, vol. 24 no. 3, 2013, pp. 577-621. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/jwh.2013.0071

Nayan Shah,Contagious Divides : epidemics and race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, 2001), esp. Chapter 7.

Cecilia Tsu, Garden of the World: Asian Immigrants and the Making of Agriculture in California's Santa Clara Valley (Oxford: OUP, 2013).

Scott Wong, 'The Transformation of Culture: Three Chinese Views of America', American Quarterly, vol. 48 no. 2, 1996, pp. 201-232. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/aq.1996.0022 -- NB: Looks at the impact of visits and immigration to the USA on China, offering a useful alternative perspective.

E-Resources, Angel Island:

National Archives and Records Administration [NARA] Immigration Records

http://www.angel-island.com/history.html

http://www.angel-island.com/

http://www.poeticwaves.net/

http://www.cetel.org/angel_poetry.html

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/angel/natale.htm

http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/kt5p3019m2/

http://camla.org/

http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=Chinese_Immigration

National Archives 'Digital Vaults' (NB: this source has been designed to help teachers -- but includes some very interesting primary sources)