The Third Asiatic Invasion Empire and Migration in Filipino America, 1898-1946

“A scrupulously researched and compellingly argued work of historical sociology. Baldoz has an eye for telling details that help illuminate larger patterns of American empire, racial formation, and the politics of immigration. This elegant book makes a quantum leap by integrating Filipino and Filipino American scholarship and will surely become a classic in racial and ethnic studies.”
– Evelyn Nakano Glenn, author of Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America

“Rigorously argued and deeply documented, The Third Asiatic Invasion is an urgent and necessary book on how race and empire played out in the Filipino experience in America. Baldoz redefines how we should study race, moving beyond the banal assertion of race as a social construction to explain the continuous process of race and boundary making and remaking. Bravo!”
– Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of Racism Without Racists

The Third Asiatic Invasion is a singular contribution to our understanding of both US and Philippine national histories as irrevocably linked to the vicissitudes of colonial power, imperial projects, and nationalist conflict. The particular strengths and considerable significance of The Third Asiatic Invasion lie in the ways it addresses these questions with a clear eye for the telling details with which to fashion important insights into the foundational roles of race, labor, and immigration in US imperial and national history. It truly deserves a wide readership.”
– Vicente Rafael, University of Washington

The first half of the twentieth century witnessed a wave of Filipino immigration to the United States, following in the footsteps of earlier Chinese and Japanese immigrants, the first and second “Asiatic invasions.” Perceived as alien because of their Asian ethnicity yet legally defined as American nationals granted more rights than other immigrants, Filipino American national identity was built upon the shifting sands of contradiction, ambiguity, and hostility.

Rick Baldoz explores the complex relationship between Filipinos and the US by looking at the politics of immigration, race, and citizenship on both sides of the Philippine-American divide: internationally through an examination of American imperial ascendancy and domestically through an exploration of the social formation of Filipino communities in the United States. He reveals how American practices of racial exclusion repeatedly collided with the imperatives of US overseas expansion. A unique portrait of the Filipino American experience, The Third Asiatic Invasion links the Filipino experience to that of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Chinese, and Native Americans among others, revealing how the politics of exclusion played out over time against different population groups.

Weaving together an impressive range of materials—including newspapers, government reports, legal documents, and archival sources—into a seamless narrative, Baldoz illustrates how the anomalous status of Filipinos played a significant role in transforming the politics of race, immigration, and nationality in the United States.

About the Author

Rick Baldoz teaches in the Department of Sociology at Oberlin College.