In sight of America: Photography and United States immigration policy, 1880--1930.

Show simple item record Gordon, Anna Pegler
dc.contributor.advisor Sanchez, George J.
dc.contributor.advisor Smith, Richard Candida 2016-08-30T17:55:07Z 2016-08-30T17:55:07Z 2002
dc.description.abstract Since its beginnings, the history of federal immigration law has been the history of making immigrants visible. As new laws limiting U.S. immigration were introduced in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, they commonly involved new requirements for observing, documenting and photographing immigrants. This study explores three connected moments in the development of visual immigration policy: the photographic documentation of the Chinese in America starting with Chinese exclusion in the 1880s; the establishment of Ellis Island as a site for observing European immigrants in the 1890s; and the implementation of photographic identity cards on the Mexican-U.S. border in the 1910s and 1920s. These histories show how the emergent visual regimes of criminal, medical and ethnographic photography played a significant role in the development of federal immigration policy and the introduction of racial immigration restrictions. Between 1882 and 1928, the United States introduced and expanded a racialized system of immigration restriction through Chinese exclusion, Mexican-U.S. border regulation, and quotas based on national origins. As each new restriction was introduced, it was underpinned by a racialized system of visual and photographic regulation. Chinese, European and Mexican migrants were subject to different policies and practices of photographic representation, which reflected and reinforced the Immigration Bureau's understanding of their racial identities. However, they resisted these policies in varied ways from controlling their own representations in photographs to manipulating photographic identity documentation. In the process, they not only shaped the implementation of immigration policy but also challenged the evidentiary authority of photography. Positioned at the intersection of immigration history and visual culture, this dissertation links original archival research on federal immigration policy with detailed readings of photographic collections, photographers and individual images. Drawing on numerous immigrant case files, this study presents a new perspective on U.S. immigration policy that recognizes the central role of visuality within history.
dc.format.extent 388 p.
dc.language English
dc.language.iso EN
dc.subject America
dc.subject Chinese-american
dc.subject Identity Documentation
dc.subject Immigration Policy
dc.subject Latino
dc.subject Ndash
dc.subject Photography
dc.subject Sight
dc.subject States
dc.subject United
dc.title In sight of America: Photography and United States immigration policy, 1880--1930.
dc.type Thesis
dc.description.thesisdegreename Ph.D.
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline American history
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline American studies
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Art history
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Communication and the Arts
dc.description.thesisdegreediscipline Social Sciences
dc.description.thesisdegreegrantor University of Michigan, Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies
dc.owningcollname Dissertations and Theses (Ph.D. and Master's)
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