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Edlie L. Wong
University of Maryland, College Park (College Park, MD 20742-5141)
From Emancipation to Exclusion: Contract, Citizens, and Coolies

From Emancipation to Exclusion charts the complex intellectual legacies of slavery in the era of emancipation, when the ideals of freedom and free labor began to coalesce into a political worldview. It explores how legislators, writers, and reformers drew on the anachronistic specter of slavery in the figure of the Asiatic "coolie" to contest and configure the legal disenfranchisement of Chinese labor migrants. While some black and Asian writers protested Chinese Exclusion as an outgrowth of slavery's racial proscriptions, pro-exclusion agitators defended it as an antislavery measure in a democratic country committed to freedom. This book illuminates how these contests over post-war citizenship and national belonging led to the ratification of America's first race-specific immigration law. It adds to the growing scholarship in comparative race studies and broadens our understanding of racial slavery as historical experience, idea, and metaphor in American literary and cultural studies.

[Grant products][Prizes]

Project fields:
American Literature

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2010 – 6/30/2011