Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

"The Politics of Brain Drains: Unanticipated Consequences of American Outreach in Asia"

Fri, March 25, 2011 | Garrison Hall, Room 4.100

12:00 PM

The Institute for Historical Studies and the Center for Asian American Studies invite you to a workshop, "The Politics of Brain Drains: Unanticipated Consequences of American Outreach in Asia," presented by Drs. Madeline Hsu and Paul A. Kramer on Friday, March 25 at noon in Garrison Hall, Room 4.100
Madeline Hsu is the Director of the Center for Asian American Studies and an Associate Professor of History.  The working title of her current monograph project is “Importing Racial Solutions:  Immigration, American Foreign Policy, and Chinese Intellectuals during the Cold War.”
Paul A. Kramer is an Associate Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. His first book, The Blood of Government: Race, Empire, the United States, and the Philippines, (UNC Press, 2006) won the 2007 Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the 2007 James A. Rawley Prize, Organization of American Historians.
This article weaves together several strands from my current book project which seeks to explain the transformation of Asian immigrants from “yellow perils”—whose intrinsic inassimilability and economic threat necessitated the creation of America’s immigration restriction bureaucracy—into model minorities whose statistically demonstrated successes demonstrate that the United States provides race-blind access to educational and economic opportunities.  In the name of fostering stronger foreign relations, the Cold War impelled small shifts in immigration laws that privileged the admission of historically favored groups such as students and refugees even as they introduced criteria that benefited the United States economically.  The fusion of international outreach and economic rationality unintentionally produced the migration flow now commonly known as “brain drain” which undermined the intellectual and capitalist exchanges the changes in law had been designed to produce.  Despite these tremors, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations embraced such economically rational immigration restrictions as acceptable alternatives to the obstructively discriminatory older quota system based on race and national origins.  The 1965 Immigration Act has legalized unprecedented levels of immigration from once prohibited realms of the world while selecting for those most likely to contribute economically to the United States.  The current successes of the Asian American population—which is 70 percent foreign-born—must be weighed in light of these newer forms of discrimination.
RSVP required. To RSVP, reserve your lunch, and receive a copy of the pre-circulated paper, please email Courtney at by 9 a.m., Thursday, March 24.

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