Cover for AARIM-HERIOT: Chinese Immigrants, African Americans, and Racial Anxiety in the United States, 1848-82. Click for larger image

Chinese Immigrants, African Americans, and Racial Anxiety in the United States, 1848-82

Awards and Recognition:

Received an Honorable Mention in the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Awards 2004.

Comparisons of the treatment of the Chinese and African-Americans in the U.S. in the 19th century

The first detailed examination of the link between the “Chinese question” and the “Negro problem” in nineteenth-century America, this work forcefully and convincingly demonstrates that the anti- Chinese sentiment that led up to the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 is inseparable from the racial double standards applied by mainstream white society toward white and nonwhite groups during the same period.

Najia Aarim-Heriot argues that previous studies on American Sinophobia have overemphasized the resentment labor organizations felt toward incoming Chinese workers. This focus has caused crucial elements of the discussion to be overlooked, especially the broader ways in which the growing nation sought to define and unify itself through the exclusion and oppression of nonwhite peoples.

This book highlights striking similarities in the ways the Chinese and African American populations were disenfranchised during the mid-1800s, including nearly identical negative stereotypes, shrill rhetoric, and crippling exclusionary laws.

Removing Chinese American history from the vacuum in which it has been traditionally studied, this book stands as a holistic examination of the causes and effects of American Sinophobia and the racialization of national immigration policies.

"A splendid achievement."--Choice

"In this meticulously researched work, Najia Aarim-Heriot has broken new and important ground in the study of American racial formations and interracial relations. . . . It points to the direction that more work in ethnic studies should follow . . . so that ethno-racial groups are not studied alone but in relation to others."--Pacific Affairs

"Through an exhaustive survey of political debates and proceedings emanating almost exclusively from California and Washington, D.C., Najia Aarim-Heriot seeks to reframe the origins and consequences of Chinese exclusion from the United States."--Pacific Northwest Quarterly

"This book provides a new framework for understanding nineteenth century anti-Chinese sentiment. Aarim-Hariot's research and the way she connects her sources should help historians think about racism beyond the biracial paradigm which has entrenched us for too long."--Left History

"In her carefully researched, well-argued and thoughtful book, Aarim-Heriot masterfully unravels the ideas that lie at the core of national politics, contextualizing Caucasian attitudes toward Chinese immigrants within the broad and comparative framework of race."--John David Smith, author of Slavery, Race and American History.

Najia Aarim-Heriot is an associate professor in the department of history at the State University of New York at Fredonia.

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