Allan Lumba, Virginia Tech | Newberry

Allan Lumba, Virginia Tech

Friday, December 3, 2021

3:30-5 pm CST

Virtual event, register for link

Labor History Seminar

‘Coolie’ Capacities and the Government of Able-Bodied Work, Allan Lumba, Virginia Tech

This paper explores the profound way ableism has materially shaped the life and labor of racialized migrant workers under capitalism. I concentrate on the experiences of Asian migrants—so-called coolies—working and struggling in the settler colony of California from the 1870s to the 1900s. I look primarily at archives of public and expert discourse over the mental disorders and public health threat of Asian migrants. I research how supposedly scientific concerns over the lack of Chinese physical and “mental hygiene,” were used as grounds for white supremacist legal and extralegal violence during economic crisis and depression.

This paper hopes to have a broader public resonance, particularly regarding contemporary issues of mental health, incarceration, and global inequalities based on race, wealth, and disability.

Cost and Registration Information 

This event is free, but all participants must register in advance and space is limited. To register and request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, click here. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.