British Association for American Studies


Seminar: Overrepresented: Asian Americans in the Age of Affirmative Action (UCL Institute of the Americas)

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Seminar: Overrepresented: Asian Americans in the Age of Affirmative Action (UCL Institute of the Americas)

June 6, 2016 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Please note this event has been re-scheduled from May 26 to June 6

Ellen Wu (Indiana University, Bloomington) – This talk places Asian Americans at the center of the intersecting histories of race-making and policy-making in the late-twentieth century United States. Contemporaries saw Asian Americans as an ‘overrepresented’ (as opposed to ‘underrepresented’) minority in a double sense: first, as an economically privileged minority racial group that did not need new rights and programs to guarantee equal opportunity, and second, as too successful and therefore a threat to whites.

How and why did this racial logic gain traction, and what were its consequences?  The presentation will share preliminary findings as a new way to think about the fundamental importance of Asian Americans and Asia to the recalibration of the nation’s racial order and political alignments in the post-civil rights era.

Dr Ellen Wu (Ph.D. University of Chicago) is associate professor of history and director of the Asian American Studies program at Indiana University, Bloomington. As a specialist in 20th century United States history, her research and teaching interests focus on Asian/Pacific America, immigration, and race. Her first monograph, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority, was published in 2014 by Princeton University Press as part of its ‘Politics and Society in Twentieth Century America’ series. Wu’s research has been supported with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Ford Foundation, and the University of Texas at Austin’s Institute for Historical Studies. She is currently at work on a new book project, Asian Americans in the Age of Affirmative Action, a history of race-making, policy-making, and migration in recent times. Find her on Twitter: @ellendwu

Attendance is free of charge but registration is required. IMPORTANT NOTE ON ACCESS TO 51 GORDON SQUARE: in order to ensure a smooth delivery of the lecture and for ease of logistics, access to the building may be restricted after the start of the event. We will endeavour to accommodate late arrivals within our possibilities, but an early arrival is recommended to avoid disappointment.


June 6, 2016
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Oscar Martinez


University College London
UCL Darwin Building, Room B.15, Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
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