Impossible Subjects By Mai Ngai

2503 Words11 Pages
Mai Ngai’s book, Impossible Subjects, powerfully studies the unfortunately understudied period between 1924 and 1965, the lifespan of the national origins quota system. This era begins with the passage of the Johnson-Reed Immigration Act in 1924 and ends with the lifting of national origins quotas through the passage of the Hart-Celler Act of 1965. The era from 1924 to 1965 remapped the nation by developing both a particular racial and ethnic identity and a "new sense of territoriality" (Ngai p.3). This period demonstrates the most widespread immigration restriction in U.S. history that literally "remapped the nation" (Ngai p.3). Ngai argues that widespread immigration exclusion created an intensified sense of national borders as well as increased security on those boarders. This helped produce what is now defined as the illegal alien (Ngai). Impossible Subjects primarily concentrates on immigrants categorized as illegal aliens, alien citizens, colonial subjects, and contract laborers. Because these are immigrants whose experiences are not greatly represented in our national narrative, the regulations that have governed them have never greatly been exposed, resulting in a collective oblivion within United States history. Ngai turns her research to important analytical use. Ngai’s most interesting lines of argument lie within her analysis of the creation of illegal immigration from Mexico and her analysis of Japanese internment during World War II. Ngai begins Impossible

More about Impossible Subjects By Mai Ngai

Get Access