Tuesday, January 25, 2022
Immigration Article of the Day: Birth of a nation: Race, regulation, and the rise of the modern state by Jennifer M. Chacón
In Birth of a nation: Race, regulation, and the rise of the modern state, 33 Cultural Dynamics 257 (2021), immprof Jennifer Chacón (Berkeley) comments on Radhika Mongia's book Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State (Duke University Press, 2018 and Permanent Black Press, 2019). Chacón begins her comments:
In Indian Migration and Empire: A Colonial Genealogy of the Modern State, Mongia (2018) pushes against what she calls “a methodological statism,” which she defines as “a position that naturalizes the state.” (p. 5) She persuasively reveals how methodological statism is not limited to traditional imperial accounts of state formation, but also influences critical accounts. To denaturalize the state, and in so doing, to generate a more accurate assessment of the origins and significance of contemporary migration regulation, Mongia focuses on the practices, techniques and institutions of the colonial regulation of Indian migration from 1834 to 1917. She approaches her analysis of migration management not through the examination of regulations within a particular state; such an approach merely accepts the presumed “stateness” of certain entities and practices, which are actually in historical flux and in question. She therefore approaches migration regulation from outside of the state, focusing historically on the global technologies of migration control. The resulting account illustrates that the tools and justifications for migration control are not diffused from center to periphery, but are instead the product of a relational, though assuredly hierarchical, coproduction (p. 147).