Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 by Natalia MolinaFit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939 by Natalia Molina

Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939

byNatalia Molina

Paperback | March 13, 2006

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Meticulously researched and beautifully written,Fit to Be Citizens?demonstrates how both science and public health shaped the meaning of race in the early twentieth century. Through a careful examination of the experiences of Mexican, Japanese, and Chinese immigrants in Los Angeles, Natalia Molina illustrates the many ways local health officials used complexly constructed concerns about public health to demean, diminish, discipline, and ultimately define racial groups. She shows how the racialization of Mexican Americans was not simply a matter of legal exclusion or labor exploitation, but rather that scientific discourses and public health practices played a key role in assigning negative racial characteristics to the group. The book skillfully moves beyond the binary oppositions that usually structure works in ethnic studies by deploying comparative and relational approaches that reveal the racialization of Mexican Americans as intimately associated with the relative historical and social positions of Asian Americans, African Americans, and whites. Its rich archival grounding provides a valuable history of public health in Los Angeles, living conditions among Mexican immigrants, and the ways in which regional racial categories influence national laws and practices. Molina's compelling study advances our understanding of the complexity of racial politics, attesting that racism is not static and that different groups can occupy different places in the racial order at different times.
Natalia Molinais Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and Urban Studies at the University of California, San Diego.
Title:Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1939Format:PaperbackDimensions:293 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.75 inPublished:March 13, 2006Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0520246497

ISBN - 13:9780520246492


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

1. Interlopers in the Land of Sunshine: Chinese Disease Carriers, Launderers, and Vegetable Peddlers
2. Caught between Discourses of Disease, Health, and Nation: Public Health Attitudes toward Japanese and Mexican Laborers in Progressive-Era Los Angeles
3. Institutionalizing Public Health in Ethnic Los Angeles in the 1920s
4. "We Can No Longer Ignore the Problem of the Mexican": Depression-Era Public Health Policies in Los Angeles
5. The Fight for "Health, Morality, and Decent Living Standards": Mexican Americans and the Struggle for Public Housing in 1930s Los Angeles

Epilogue: Genealogies of Racial Discourses and Practices