Associate Professor , Sophia University
Associate Professor , Sophia University
AREAS OF EXPERTISE
AREAS OF TEACHING
I am a social and legal historian of U.S. immigration. Broadly trained in European and Asian migration history, I specialize in race and ethnicity, nativism; immigration law and policy; labor; and the US and the World. I am the author of Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy (Oxford University Press, 2017). I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies at Sophia University, Japan. I received my Ph.D. in History from Boston College. Prior to my current position, I served as a Mellon Research Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University and taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the City University of New York-City College.
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of English Studies at Sophia University, where I teach North American Studies and Migration Studies. I am a social and legal historian of U.S. immigration. Broadly trained in European and Asian migration history, I specialize in race and ethnicity, nativism; immigration law and policy; labor; and the US and the World.
I received my Ph.D. in History from Boston College, where my dissertation won the university’s best humanities dissertation award. After earning my Ph.D., I served as a Mellon Research Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University and taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History at the City University of New York-City College.
I am the author of Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy (Oxford University Press, 2017). It received the First Book Award from the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, the Lois P. Rudnick Award from the New England American Studies Association, and the Donald Murphy Prize from the American Conference for Irish Studies, as well as Special Commendation for the Peter J. Gomez Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society. The publication of the book was supported by the American Society for Legal History Paul L. Murphy Award.
As a historian, I deeply value public engagements. I frequently contribute editorials on immigration policy and nativism to major newspapers, such as The Washington Post and The Irish Times, and have been interviewed on these topics by various venues, including C-SPAN, The Atlantic, and the Center for American Progress.
As a social and legal historian of US immigration, I specialize in race and ethnicity, nativism; immigration law and policy; labor; and the US and the World. My published works examine diverse themes related to the history of American immigration policy, such as the origins of American immigration control; state-level precedents of federal immigration policy; and the exclusion experience of Japanese migrants in the Pacific Northwest in the late nineteenth century.
My first book, Expelling the Poor, fundamentally revises our understanding of the origins of immigration restriction in the United States, especially deportation policy. The book locates the roots of American immigration control in anti-Irish nativism and economic ideology in nineteenth-century New York and Massachusetts, in contrast to previous studies’ traditional focus on anti-Asian racism in the West.
Historians have long assumed that immigration to the United States was free from regulation until the introduction of federal laws to restrict Chinese immigration in the late nineteenth century. But the influx of impoverished Irish immigrants over the first half of the nineteenth century led nativists in New York and Massachusetts to develop policies for deporting destitute foreigners to Europe.
Expelling the Poor demonstrates how the policies in Atlantic seaboard states, which were driven partly by ethnic prejudice against the Irish but more fundamentally by economic concerns about their poverty, laid the foundations for federal immigration laws.
I am currently working on two book projects. One is titled “The American Dilemma: Foreign Contract Labor and the Making of U.S. Immigration Policy.” The book examines a fundamental dilemma in American history – the tension between nativism against foreigners and demand for their labor. By locating the origins of this dilemma in the federal government’s attempts and failure to restrict the immigration of contract workers from Asia, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Puerto Rico in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, the book reveals how the debate over imported labor gave rise to a national immigration regime in the United States.
The other project, “Democratic Intolerance: The History of American Nativism,” provides a synthetic history of American nativism from the American Revolution to the present. The book reveals how nativism gained social and political support when foreigners appeared to threaten: (1) democratic political institutions, (2) Americans’ economic independence regarded as vital to the health of American democratic society, and (3) the sense that the integrity of American democracy depended on racial and cultural homogeneity. By demonstrating how the idea of democracy could function as a tool for marginalizing particular groups of foreigners and removing them from the nation, this book illuminates the fundamentally contradictory tension within American democracy between inclusion and exclusion.
PROJECTS AND EXHIBITIONS
“The American Dilemma: Foreign Contract Labor and the Making of U.S. Immigration Policy.”
“Democratic Intolerance: The History of American Nativism.”
Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).
“Limits of Intolerance: Nativism and Immigration Control in Nineteenth-Century New York,” in Special Issue: Island Nations: Histories of Demographic Change in Majority Minority Societies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369183X.2020.1774114 (Online publication date: July 22, 2020.)
“Exclusion on the Ground: Racism, Official Discretion, and the Quotidian Enforcement of General Immigration Law in the Pacific Northwest Borderland,” American Quarterly 69, no. 2 (June 2017): 347-370.
“‘The Great Entrepot for Mendicants’: Foreign Poverty and Immigration Control in New York State to 1882,” Journal of American Ethnic History 33, no. 2 (Winter 2014): 5-32.
“The Moment of Transition: State Officials, the Federal Government, and the Formation of American Immigration Policy,” Journal of American History 99, no. 4 (March 2013): 1092-1108.
Appeared in podcast The Case for Immigration and discussed the history of American immigration policy, October 27, 2019.
Appeared in podcast Uncommontary and discussed the history of American immigration policy, October 15, 2019.
Appeared in podcast Immigration Nerds and discussed the origins of the public charge clause in American immigration policy, August 29, 2019.
Appeared in podcast The Road to Now and discussed Expelling the Poor and the origins of American Immigration Policy, April 7, 2019.
Appeared in podcast New Books Network and discussed Expelling the Poor, January 23, 2019.
Interviewed by Mother Jones for an article, “An Old Anti-Irish Law Is at the Heart of Trump’s Plan to Reshape Legal Immigration,” August 29, 2018.
Appeared in a podcast run by the Center for American Progress and discussed current immigration policy, February 23, 2018.
Interviewed by TIME for an article, “25 Moments That Changed America,” June 30, 2017.
Appeared in C-SPAN: American History TV and discussed nineteenth-century Irish immigration, June 25, 2017.
Appeared in CUNY Radio and discussed Expelling the Poor and contemporary immigration politics, February 16, 2017.
Interviewed by The Atlantic for an article, “First, They Excluded the Irish: President Trump may block entry to foreigners who need public benefits—a proposal rooted in 19th century laws targeting a wave of impoverished immigrants,” February 2, 2017.
Interviewed by NBC NEWS for an article, “Digital Project Aims to Preserve Stories of Incarcerated Japanese Americans,” October 15, 2015.
Interested in being listed in the expert database?
Become an IEHS member to create a public profile. Your membership includes a subscription to Journal of American Ethnic History, the leading peer-reviewed research journal on the history of migration to North American from all other parts of the world, as well as eligibility for research awards and prizes.
Already a member? Contact Andy Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the expert database signup form.