Mae Ngai

Columbia University

A Nation of Immigrants: A Short History of an Idea

Mae Ngai is Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies and professor of history at Columbia. Major publications include Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (2004) and The Chinese Question: The Gold Rushes and Global Politics (2021). She writes commentary on immigration and Asian American issues for the New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications. While at the Institute, Ngai will be working on A Nation of Immigrants: A Short History of an Idea, a book based on the Lawrence Stone lectures delivered at Princeton University. An intellectual and political history of the American liberal narrative of inclusion from the Cold War to 1980, it addresses major tropes such as "nation of immigrants," "American Dream," and "Land of Refuge," showing how they are products of history and not timeless national ideals.

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