OCA READS Book Talk: Dr. Madeline Y. Hsu

  • Sat, August 12, 2017
  • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
  • Tainan Bistro, 9306 Bellaire Blvd, Houston, TX 77036

AAPI Meet the Author Series

Professor Madeline Y. Hsu, Afternoon Tea Book Talk & Signing

“Asian American History, A Very Short Introduction”

Please join OCA-Greater Houston in welcoming Asian American Pacific Islander author Dr. Madeline Y. Hsu to discuss her new book, "Asian American History, A Very Short Introduction"

  • A sophisticated look at the history of Asian Americans that emphasizes Asian immigrants' crucial role in America's journey toward racial equity
  • Charts the historical significance of Asian contributions to American culture
  • Considers critical themes of contemporary relevance such as immigration policy, socioeconomic inequality of the minorities, refugee policy, integration of immigrants, and international labor markets

Madeline Y. Hsu will be at Tainan Bistro at 3:00 p.m. with a slideshow presentation to discuss her research followed by time for Questions & Answers (Q&A) and autographing of books. Books will only be available for signing at this weekend event. This event is a part of our continuing AAPI Meet the Author Series.

Date: Saturday, August 12, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Tainan Bistro, 9306 Bellaire Blvd; 713-988-7275

Cost: Free and open to the public; limited books will be available for purchase

Preorder Copies of Madeline’s Book with us!

Please RSVP to help us with refreshment preparations

For more information, please contact oca@ocahouston.org or 713.446.8430


Madeline Y. Hsu served as Director of the center for Asian American Studies 2006-2014 and is currently an Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She was born in Columbia, Missouri but grew up in Taiwan and Hong Kong between visits with her grandparents at their store in Altheimer, Arkansas. She received her undergraduate degrees in History from Pomona College and PhD from Yale University. Her books include Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home and the coedited anthology Chinese Americans and the Politics of Race and Culture. The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton University Press, 2015) is her second monograph.


A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center reported that Asian Americans are the best-educated, highest-income, and best-assimilated racial group in the United States. Before reaching this level of economic success and social assimilation, however, Asian immigrants' path was full of difficult, even demeaning, moments. This book provides a sweeping and nuanced history of Asian Americans, revealing how and why the perception of Asian immigrants changed over time.

Asian migrants, in large part Chinese, arrived in significant numbers on the West Coast during the 1850s and 1860s to work in gold mining and on the construction of the transcontinental Railroad. Unlike their contemporary European counterparts, Asians, often stigmatized as "coolies," challenged American ideals of equality with the problem of whether all racial groups could be integrated into America's democracy. The fear of the "Yellow Peril" soon spurred an array of legislative and institutional efforts to segregate them through immigration laws, restrictions on citizenship, and limits on employment, property ownership, access to public services, and civil rights. Prejudices against Asian Americans reached a peak during World War II, when Japanese Americans were interned en masse. It was only with changes in the immigration laws and the social and political activism of the 1960s and 1970s that Asian Americans gained ground and acceptance, albeit in the still stereotyped category of "model minorities."

Madeline Y. Hsu weaves a fascinating historical narrative of this "American Dream." She shows how Asian American success, often attributed to innate cultural values, is more a result of the immigration laws, which have largely pre-selected immigrants of high economic and social potential. Asian Americans have, in turn, been used by politicians to bludgeon newer (and more populous) immigrant groups for their purported lack of achievement. Hsu deftly reveals how public policy, which can restrict and also selectively promote certain immigrant populations, is a key reason why some immigrant groups appear to be more naturally successful and why the identity of those groups evolves differently from others.

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