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The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870-1965

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The Qualities of a Citizen traces the application of U.S. immigration and naturalization law to women from the 1870s to the late 1960s. Like no other book before, it explores how racialized, gendered, and historical anxieties shaped our current understandings of the histories of immigrant women. The book takes us from the first federal immigration restrictions against Asia The Qualities of a Citizen traces the application of U.S. immigration and naturalization law to women from the 1870s to the late 1960s. Like no other book before, it explores how racialized, gendered, and historical anxieties shaped our current understandings of the histories of immigrant women. The book takes us from the first federal immigration restrictions against Asian prostitutes in the 1870s to the immigration "reform" measures of the late 1960s. Throughout this period, topics such as morality, family, marriage, poverty, and nationality structured historical debates over women's immigration and citizenship. At the border, women immigrants, immigration officials, social service providers, and federal judges argued the grounds on which women would be included within the nation. As interview transcripts and court documents reveal, when, where, and how women were welcomed into the country depended on their racial status, their roles in the family, and their work skills. Gender and race mattered. The book emphasizes the comparative nature of racial ideologies in which the inclusion of one group often came with the exclusion of another. It explores how U.S. officials insisted on the link between race and gender in understanding America's peculiar brand of nationalism. It also serves as a social history of the law, detailing women's experiences and strategies, successes and failures, to belong to the nation.


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The Qualities of a Citizen traces the application of U.S. immigration and naturalization law to women from the 1870s to the late 1960s. Like no other book before, it explores how racialized, gendered, and historical anxieties shaped our current understandings of the histories of immigrant women. The book takes us from the first federal immigration restrictions against Asia The Qualities of a Citizen traces the application of U.S. immigration and naturalization law to women from the 1870s to the late 1960s. Like no other book before, it explores how racialized, gendered, and historical anxieties shaped our current understandings of the histories of immigrant women. The book takes us from the first federal immigration restrictions against Asian prostitutes in the 1870s to the immigration "reform" measures of the late 1960s. Throughout this period, topics such as morality, family, marriage, poverty, and nationality structured historical debates over women's immigration and citizenship. At the border, women immigrants, immigration officials, social service providers, and federal judges argued the grounds on which women would be included within the nation. As interview transcripts and court documents reveal, when, where, and how women were welcomed into the country depended on their racial status, their roles in the family, and their work skills. Gender and race mattered. The book emphasizes the comparative nature of racial ideologies in which the inclusion of one group often came with the exclusion of another. It explores how U.S. officials insisted on the link between race and gender in understanding America's peculiar brand of nationalism. It also serves as a social history of the law, detailing women's experiences and strategies, successes and failures, to belong to the nation.

30 review for The Qualities of a Citizen: Women, Immigration, and Citizenship, 1870-1965

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This book follows the immigration legislation as it was created between the years of 1870-1965, through the case by case analysis of real women entering the United States. Excellent primary sources in the form of: immigration memos, interrogations, investigator notes, court cases, etc. Race, class, and gender are woven throughout as Gardner poses the question of who was welcome in this country and why, ultimately proving that the legislation in place was more a reflection of this country's phobi This book follows the immigration legislation as it was created between the years of 1870-1965, through the case by case analysis of real women entering the United States. Excellent primary sources in the form of: immigration memos, interrogations, investigator notes, court cases, etc. Race, class, and gender are woven throughout as Gardner poses the question of who was welcome in this country and why, ultimately proving that the legislation in place was more a reflection of this country's phobias and prejudices, then a response to a legitimate problem.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michael Meloy

    I like to think I have a decent grip on our tortured immigration history but Gardner has convinced me that I have neglected a critical part of this history and must never take for granted the role of gender and sexism and be sure that my students don't either. I like to think I have a decent grip on our tortured immigration history but Gardner has convinced me that I have neglected a critical part of this history and must never take for granted the role of gender and sexism and be sure that my students don't either.

  3. 4 out of 5

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