likeyoulove make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber Read the opening extract of the brand new Kathleen Barber book before its publication on 27/12/2017

Melancholy Order Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders by Adam McKeown

Melancholy Order Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders

Part of the Columbia Studies in International and Global History Series
Notify me
when in stock

As soon as this book is back in stock we will send you an email.


Melancholy Order Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders by Adam McKeown

As Adam M. McKeown demonstrates, the push for increased border control and identity documentation is the continuation of more than 150 years of globalization. Not only are modern passports and national borders inseparable from the rise of global mobility, but they are also tied to the emergence of individuals and nations as the primary sites of global power and identity. McKeown's detailed history traces how, rather than being a legacy of traditional forms of sovereignty, practices of border control historically rose from attempts to control Asian migration around the Pacific in the 1880s. New policies to control mobility had to be justified in the context of contemporary liberal ideas of freedom and mobility, generating principles that are taken for granted today, such as the belief that migration control is a sovereign right of receiving nations and that it should occur at a country's borders. McKeown shows how the enforcement of these border controls required migrants to be extracted from social networks of identity and reconstructed as isolated individuals within centralized filing systems. Methods for excluding Asians from full participation in the family of civilized nations are now the norm between all nations. These practices also helped institutionalize global cultural and economic divisions, such as East/West and First and Third World designations, which continue to shape our understanding.


Here is a wise and provocative book for all who seek to understand why human migrants face increasing hostility, stricter restrictions, and intensifying border controls. Melancholy Order will be required reading for world historians of international migration, international law, and the impact of nationalism and racism on their intersection. Adam M. McKeown brilliantly synthesizes years of reading and research in archives on several continents, tracing the origins of today's debates to the erection of Chinese migration barriers by the liberal democracies of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His analysis of the subsequent spread and expansion of restrictions provides a cautionary tale: there will be no easy answers to contemporary debates about migration. -- Donna Gabaccia, professor of history and director, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota Adam M. McKeown's provocative study clarifies how the regulation of migration was crucial to the development of modern conceptions of sovereignty and how Asian exclusion was the chief crucible from which relevant international identity documentation emerged in the late nineteenth century. Melancholy Order is a major contribution to a truly global understanding of the history of migration as well as a challenge to the typically ahistorical and Eurocentric conception of 'globalization.
Essential reading both for historians of migration and for those in the social sciences who want to make sense of what is (and isn

't) really new in the contemporary period. -- John Torpey, professor of sociology, CUNY Graduate Center An important new work in the field of transnational history and migration studies... Highly recommended. Choice An insightful and deeply engaged excavation of international methods of constraint and identification that have attained naturalized status today. -- Madeline Yuan-Yin Hsu American Historical Review A highly important and invaluable contribution to the often US-centered perspectives concerning migration control and Chinese exclusion. -- Barbara Luthi H-Soz-u-Kult [A] well-documented and closely argued intervention in global history, full of remarkable insights. -- Evelyn Hu-DeHart Journal of American History Required reading for any scholar who is interested in the history of migration control. -- Erika Lee Journal of Asian Studies In this book, McKeown demonstrates fully his broad readings and knowledge of works in this field. -- Kwee Hui Kian Journal of World History'

About the Author

Adam M. McKeown is an associate professor of history at Columbia University, where he teaches the history of globalization, drugs in world history, and global migrations. His most recent book is Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago, Hawaii, 1900-1936.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

25th February 2011


Adam McKeown

More books by Adam McKeown
Author 'Like for Like'


Columbia University Press


472 pages


General & world history
History of the Americas
Asian history



I love reading because my cares & woes vanish for an hour or two whilst I read of the joys, adventures, lives of the characters in the book.

Jennifer Moville

At Lovereading there are fabulous books available in every genre, with great reviews to help you pick the right book for you.

Teresa O'Halloran

Love Reading - it not only does what it says on the tin, it does it with Jam on!!

Maz Tucker

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace

It has opened my eyes to different authors and genres. Just log on and try, you will be surprised and not want for reading material again.

Jocelyn Garvey

They are bright, breezy and eager to offer a great book, then genuinely listen/respect the review one writes.

Maggie Crane

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark