Historian Ellen Wu will discuss the invention of Asians as a “model minority”—peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values—in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Her talk, “How Asians Became America’s ‘Model Minority’” will trace the astonishing makeover of Asians from the era of the “yellow peril” to “model minority” after World War II. Wu will show that liberals argued for the acceptance of these immigrant communities into the national fold, charging that the failure of America to live in accordance with its democratic ideals endangered the country's aspirations to world leadership.
Wu’s talk, which will draw from her recent book, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority, will be held on Thursday, November 13, 5:30pm, in Taylor Hall, room 203. This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the History Department’s C. Mildred Thompson Fund and is co-sponsored by the Programs in Asian Studies and American Studies.
An associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington, Wu holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago. She studies questions of race, citizenship, migration, and nation through the lens of Asian American history. Her current project considers the changing conditions and consequences of race-making and policy-making in the late twentieth century United States.
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