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Culling the Masses: The Democratic Origins of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas

In his new book Culling the Masses, David FitzGerald questions the widely held view that in the long run democracy and racism cannot coexist. David Scott FitzGerald and David Cook-Martín show that democracies were the first countries in the Americas to select immigrants by race, and undemocratic states the first to outlaw discrimination. Through analysis of legal records from twenty-two countries between 1790 and 2010, the authors present a history of the rise and fall of racial selection in the Western Hemisphere.  The conventional claim that racism and democracy are antithetical--because democracy depends on ideals of equality and fairness, which are incompatible with the notion of racial inferiority--cannot explain why liberal democracies were leaders in promoting racist policies and laggards in eliminating them. Ultimately, the authors argue, the changed racial geopolitics of World War II and the Cold War was necessary to convince North American countries to reform their immigration and citizenship laws.
David Scott FitzGerald is Theodore E. Gildred Chair in U.S.-Mexican Relations, Associate Professor of Sociology, and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is co-author of Culling the Masses: The Democratic Roots of Racist Immigration Policy in the Americas (Harvard University Press, 2014); author of A Nation of Emigrants: How Mexico Manages its Migration (University of California Press, 2009); and co-editor of six books on Mexico-U.S. migration. FitzGerald’s work on the politics of international migration, transnationalism, and research methodology has been published in the American Journal of SociologyInternational Migration ReviewComparative Studies in Society and HistoryEthnic and Racial StudiesQualitative SociologyNew York University Law ReviewJournal of Interdisciplinary History, and Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. His current project examines asylum policies in comparative perspective.



Thursday, May 14, 2015. 12:00 PM


Terrace Room, 4th floor, Margaret Jacks Hall, Bldg. 460


The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Institute for the Study of International Migration


Open to all Stanford faculty, graduate students, and CCSRE affiliates. Lunch will be served. RSVP on this link