Hall Center For The Humanities


Mae Ngai
Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies at Columbia University

"Illegal Immigration: Origins and Consequences"
Humanities Lecture Series

Thu., Mar. 10, 2011, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Location: Woodruff Auditorium, Kansas Union

*Co-sponsored by Kansas Public Radio and the Organization of American Historians. The Frances and Floyd Horowitz Lecture devoted to issues related to our multi-cultural society.

The problem of "illegality" is at the center of debate over immigration policy today, but few Americans understand the origins of unauthorized immigration in the United States. Before the 1920s, when immigration was numerically unrestricted, there was no such problem. In this lecture, Mae Ngai gives a historical overview of American immigration policy from colonial times to the present, analyzing the rise of restrictive legislation and the construction of different border policies towards the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Western Hemisphere.

Mae Ngai, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies at Columbia University, is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. Dr. Ngai is the author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton 2004), which won six awards, including the Frederick Jackson Turner prize (best first book) from the OAH and the Littleton Griswold prize (best book in legal history) from the AHA.

She received her Ph.D. from Columbia in 1998 and taught at the University of Chicago before returning to Columbia in 2006. Dr. Ngai has written on immigration history and policy matters for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and the Boston Review. Before becoming a historian, she was a labor-union organizer and educator in New York City, working for District 65-UAW and the Consortium for Worker Education.

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