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Race, ethnicity and migration

Discussion Topics and Questions:

This week, we'll be looking more closely at race and ethnicity in particular as factors shaping the historic relationship between migration, bodies and the state. As we saw last week, when nation-states began to legislate exclusive models of citizenship, 'race' became an immediate focus of concern. The first exclusionary immigration laws targetted racially marked groups. How did medical definitions and popular perceptions of race affect this process, and how and when should we begin to consider 'ethnicity'as ? Was medicine merely racism's scientific figleaf, or did immigrants marked by 'racial' or ethnic differences pose distinctive risk to their hosts? How did models of race and ethnicity shape political and social responses to different migrant groups in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere? Was medicine most powerful as a tool of racial exclusion or of ethnic assimilation? We will examine phenomena from across the late 19th and twentieth centuries, so as you read, be alert to changing understangs of both 'race' and 'ethnicity', as well as 'citizenship'.




Warwick Anderson, The Cultivation of Whiteness: Science, Health and Racial Destiny in Australia, (Durham NC: Duke University Press, 2006).

T. Burke, Lifebuoy Men, Lux Women: Commodification, Consumption and Cleanliness in Modern Zimbabwe (1996), chs. 1-2.

Amy Fairchild, Science at the borders : immigrant medical inspection and the shaping of the modern industrial labor force (Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003

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

Natalia Molina, Fit to Be Citizens? Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

Jason C Parker, Brother's Keeper: the United States, Race and Empire in the British Caribbean, 1937-1962 (Oxford: OUP, 2008)

Nayan Shah, Contagious divides : epidemics and race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, 2001)

Paul Spickard, Almost All Aliens: Immigration, Race, and Colonialism in American History and Identity. (New York: Routledge, 2007)

Paul Stoller, Money Has No Smell: The Africanization of New York City (2002)



NB: Marjory Harper and Stephen Constantine, Immigration and Empire [Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series] (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010) offers a useful overview of the complex relationship between patterns of migration and imperial history throughout the periods covered in this module.

Other useful background monographs:

Clare Anderson, Legible Bodies: Race Criminality and Colonialism in South Asia (Oxford: Berg, 2004);

Alison Bashford, ed., Medicine at the Border: Disease, Globalization and Security, 1850 to the Present (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006).

Judith Walzer Leavitt, Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public’s Health (Boston: Beacon Press, 1996)



Emily K. Abel, ‘From Exclusion to Expulsion: Mexicans and Tuberculosis in Los Angeles, 1914-1940’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 77 (2003): 823-849 SwetsWise

Alison Bashford, ‘'Is White Australia Possible?' colonialism, race and tropical medicine', Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 23 (2000): 112-135

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

Daniel E. Bender Perils of Degeneration: Reform, the Savage Immigrant, and the Survival of the Unfit Journal of Social History, Fall 2008; Vol. 42, No. 1, pp. 5-29 Database: Project Muse

Roberta Bivins"The English Disease" or "Asian Rickets"? Medical Responses to Postcolonial Immigration’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 81: 3(Fall 2007), pp. 533-568

Heidi Bohaker; Franca Lacovetta Making Aboriginal People ‘Immigrants Too’: A Comparison of Citizenship Programs for Newcomers and Indigenous Peoples in Postwar Canada, 1940s–1960s The Canadian Historical Review, September 2009; Vol. 90, No. 3, pp. 427-461 Database: Project Muse

Aviva Chomsky, "Barbados or Canada?" Race, Immigration, and Nation in Early-Twentieth-Century Cuba Hispanic American Historical Review 80 415-462. Database: Project Muse

John Eades, 'THE POWER OF THE EXPERTS The plurality of beliefs and practices concerning health and illness among Bangladeshis in contemporary Tower Hamlets, London', in Lara Marks and Michael Worboys, Migrants, Minorities and Health (London: Routledge, 1997): 250-271.

Amy L. Fairchild, ‘The Rise and Fall of the Medical Gaze: The Political Economy of Immigrant Medical Inspection in Modern America’, Science in Context 19 (2006): 337 Project MUSE

Daniel Gorman, Wider and Wider Still?: Racial Politics, Intra-Imperial Immigration and the Absence of an Imperial Citizenship in the British Empire Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History, Winter 2002; Vol. 3, No. 3 Database: Project Muse

Joan M. Haig, From Kings Cross to Kew: Following the History of Zambia's Indian Community through British Imperial Archives History in Africa, 2007; Vol. 34, pp. 55-66 Database: Project Muse

Mark Harrison, '"The Tender Frame of Man": Disease, Climate and Racial Difference in India and the West Indies, 1760-1860', Bulletin of the History of Medicine 1996, 70, 68-93.

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

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

Desmond Manderson, ‘DISEASE, DEFILEMENT, DEPRAVITY’: TOWARDS AN AESTHETIC ANALYSIS OF HEALTH: The case of the Chinese in nineteenth-century Australia', in Lara Marks and Michael Worboys, Migrants, Minorities and Health (London: Routledge, 1997): 22-48.

Howard Markel, ‘"The Eyes Have It": Trachoma, the Perception of Disease, the United States Public Health Service, and the American Jewish Immigration Experience, 1897-1924’, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 74 (2000): 525 Project MUSE

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

Lara Marks and Lisa Hilder, 'ETHNIC ADVANTAGE Infant survival among Jewish and Bengali immigrants in East London, 1870-1990', in Lara Marks and Michael Worboys, Migrants, Minorities and Health (London: Routledge, 1997): 179-209.

Marc McLeod "We Cubans Are Obligated Like Cats to Have a Clean Face": Malaria, Quarantine, and Race in Neocolonial Cuba, 1898-1940 The Americas, July 2010; Vol. 67, No. 1, pp. 57-81 Database: Project Muse

Nancy Ordover, ‘National Hygiene: Twentieth Century Immigration and the Eugenics Lobby’, in Ordover, American Eugenics: Queer Anatomy and the Science of Nationalism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003) pp. 1-56

Silvia Pedraza, Beyond Black and White: Latinos and Social Science Research on Immigration, Race, and Ethnicity in America Social Science History, Winter 2000; Vol. 24, No. 4, pp. 697-726 Database: Project Mus

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

Naomi Rogers, ‘Dirt Flies and Immigrants: Explaining the Epidemiology of Poliomyelitis, 1900-1916 Sickness and Health 3rd Ed., pp. 506-528. SHORT LOAN

Alexandra Minna Stern, ‘Buildings, Boundaries, and Blood: Medicalization and Nation-Building on the U.S.-Mexico Border, 1910-1930’, The Hispanic American Historical Review 79 (Feb., 1999), pp. 41-81. JSTOR

Laura Tabili The Construction of Racial Difference in Twentieth-Century Britain: The Special Restriction (Coloured Alien Seamen) Order, 1925 The Journal of British Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1 (Jan., 1994), pp. 54-98 JSTOR