Chinese in America: Literary Lunchtime with Mae Ngai and Aziz Rana

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Join Mae Ngai and Aziz Rana as they read from their latest books and discuss family lives and legal battles that offer insight into the Chinese-American experience. The Lucky Ones, the latest book by historian Mae Ngai (Impossible Subjects), is a compelling account of three generations of the Tape family, whose patriarch Jeu Dip (Joseph Tape) arrives on his own on 'Gold Mountain' as a young teenage immigrant from China. Tape not only survives but flourishes in 19th-century San Francisco, a land of opportunity and danger. His children and grandchildren then go on to play personal and pivotal roles in the Chinese American community, illuminating the legacy of the immigrant experience for all Americans.

In The Two Faces of American Freedom, legal scholar Aziz Rana looks at these patterns of immigration and their decisive role in the creation of the United States. Taking a close look at the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, an act that the first 'lucky' Tape generation barely missed, Rana shows the practices of liberty and exclusion that form a central tension to the American political tradition. This rare multi-disciplinary reading and conversation will look at the Chinese in America from inside and out, revealing their centrality to the American narrative.

Mae M. Ngai is a professor at Columbia University. She is author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton, 2004) and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) and has written on immigration history and policy for The Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and The Boston Review.

Aziz Rana, author of The Two Faces of American Freedom (Harvard University Press) is a professor at Cornell Law School received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College and his J.D. from Yale Law School. Prior to joining the Cornell faculty, he was an Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fellow in Law at Yale. Much of his writing focuses on how notions of republicanism and expansion shaped US constitutional development.

Followed by a book sale and signing.

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Co-sponsored by The Asian American Writers' Workshop (AAWW)

Can't make it to this program? Tune in to the free live video webcast on AsiaSociety.org/Live from 12:45 to 2:00 pm ET. Online viewers are encouraged to submit their questions to moderator@asiasociety.org and to join the live chat during the webcast.

Event Details

Thu 07 Oct 2010
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
725 Park Avenue, New York, NY
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Free for Asia Society and AAWW members; $5 students/seniors; $10 nonmembers
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