Transpacific Anti-Imperialism: Social Movements and Race-Making in Migrant and Minority Cultures in the United States and East Asia, 1919-1951


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines how Korean and Japanese migrant activists in urban cities like New York, Chicago, Seoul, and Tokyo developed connections between East Asian and American anti-imperialist movements from the 1920s through the 1940s. Using multi-sited archival research in the United States, Korea, and Japan, it argues that the interracial encounters of the activists, such as their relationships with other Asians, African Americans, and migrant whites, were central to the development of their political ideas and cultural expressions. These radicals drew on their experiences as racialized migrant workers and on the increasing global circuit of critical theory, namely socialism and feminism, to challenge racism as well as Japanese and US imperialism. Thus, this research illuminates how migration and intercultural exchanges allowed the activists to imagine broader coalitions, even as racism and colonialism, both against and among minority groups, limited the scope of solidarity movements.