John S. W. Park
Coolies and Cane: Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of Emancipationby Moon-Ho Jung
How did thousands of Chinese migrants end up working alongside African Americans in Louisiana after the Civil War? With the stories of these workers, Coolies and Cane advances an interpretation of emancipation that moves beyond U.S. borders and the black-white racial dynamic. Tracing American ideas of Asian labor to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean,/i>
How did thousands of Chinese migrants end up working alongside African Americans in Louisiana after the Civil War? With the stories of these workers, Coolies and Cane advances an interpretation of emancipation that moves beyond U.S. borders and the black-white racial dynamic. Tracing American ideas of Asian labor to the sugar plantations of the Caribbean, Moon-Ho Jung argues that the racial formation of "coolies" in American culture and law played a pivotal role in reconstructing concepts of race, nation, and citizenship in the United States.
Jung examines how coolies appeared in major U.S. political debates on race, labor, and immigration between the 1830s and 1880s. He finds that racial notions of coolies were articulated in many, often contradictory, ways. They could mark the progress of freedom; they could also symbolize the barbarism of slavery. Welcomed and rejected as neither black nor white, coolies emerged recurrently as both the salvation of the fracturing and reuniting nation and the scourge of American civilization.
Based on extensive archival research, this study makes sense of these contradictions to reveal how American impulses to recruit and exclude coolies enabled and justified a series of historical transitions: from slave-trade laws to racially coded immigration laws, from a slaveholding nation to a "nation of immigrants," and from a continental empire of manifest destiny to a liberating empire across the seas.
Combining political, cultural, and social history, Coolies and Cane is a compelling study of race, Reconstruction, and Asian American history.
Michael G. Wade
Walter T. Howard
Gordon H. Chang
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Publication date:
- Sold by:
- Barnes & Noble
- NOOK Book
- File size:
- 3 MB
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are saying about this
A stunning accomplishment, a work of enormous intellectual and moral integrity. Jung has dramatically resituated Chinese American history both temporally and geographically, to the American South and the Caribbean, and connects both to U.S. ambitions in China. This book is about more than racial constructions and ideology. It is also a moving story about real Chinese laborers, who were recruited to Louisiana sugar plantations after the Civil War, and the myriad ways in which they resisted being treated like 'coolies.'
Mae M. Ngai, University of Chicago, author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America
This invaluable study forever changes our understanding of not only the history of Chinese labor in the United States, but also the very nature of slavery, freedom, and racialized labor in the age of emancipation.
Lisa Lowe, University of California, San Diego, author of Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics
An outstanding piece of scholarship and the most complete study of Chinese labor in the South. Through his meticulous research of a vast array of sources, Jung has managed to make a significant contribution to a number of overlapping fields: Asian American history, African American history, Southern history, labor history, race and ethnicity studies, and Diaspora studies. It is rare for one book to touch on so many fields!
K. Scott Wong, Williams College, author of Americans First: Chinese Americans and the Second World War
Meticulously researched and boldly argued, this book is by turns, and often simultaneously, social, labor, business, diplomatic, Caribbean, Asian American, Southern, and political history. It is refreshingly revisionist in showing that moving the focus of Asian American history from the West Coast involves far more than simply acknowledging early settlement in Louisiana. Instead, Jung shows the debates over the possibility that the West Indian 'coolie' could be profitably 'transplanted' to the U.S. South made Asian American history part and parcel of debates over slavery and free labor at numerous turns, pre- and post-emancipation, so much so that initial immigration restriction legislation in the United States regulated 'coolie' trading in the context of the Civil War.
David R. Roediger, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, author of Colored White: Transcending the Racial Past
Meet the Author
Moon-Ho Jung is an associate professor of history at the University of Washington.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >