In western countries, including the United States, foreign-trained nurses constitute a crucial labor supply. Far and away the largest number of these nurses come from the Philippines. Why is it that a developing nation with a comparatively greater need for trained medical professionals sends so many of its nurses to work in wealthier countries? Catherine Ceniza Choy engages this question through an examination of the unique relationship between the professionalization of nursing and the twentieth-century migration of Filipinos to the United States. The first book-length study of the history of Filipino nurses in the United States, Empire of Care brings to the fore the complicated connections among nursing, American colonialism, and the racialization of Filipinos.Choy conducted extensive interviews with Filipino nurses in New York City and spoke with leading Filipino nurses across the United States. She combines their perspectives with various others—including those of Philippine and American government and health officials—to demonstrate how the desire of Filipino nurses to migrate abroad cannot be reduced to economic logic, but must instead be understood as a fundamentally transnational process. She argues that the origins of Filipino nurse migrations do not lie in the Philippines’ independence in 1946 or the relaxation of U.S. immigration rules in 1965, but rather in the creation of an Americanized hospital training system during the period of early-twentieth-century colonial rule. Choy challenges celebratory narratives regarding professional migrants’ mobility by analyzing the scapegoating of Filipino nurses during difficult political times, the absence of professional solidarity between Filipino and American nurses, and the exploitation of foreign-trained nurses through temporary work visas. She shows how the culture of American imperialism persists today, continuing to shape the reception of Filipino nurses in the United States. Read more
Review ”Empire of Care is an extremely important work, a milestone in Asian American and American studies, and a singular contribution to the emergent field of Filipino American studies.”—Vicente L. Rafael, author of White Love and Other Events in Filipino History”Empire of Care provides an eloquent analysis and exciting transnational interpretive framework for understanding the political economy of American imperialism and the immigration of Filipino nurses. Catherine Ceniza Choy’s lively and vivid history of women who connected the professional and the home spheres to become architects of their own lives against the backdrop of race, gender, and class constructions is an impressive contribution. Students of nursing, immigration, and social history will benefit enormously from this theoretically insightful and absorbing volume.”—Darlene Clark Hine, author of Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890–1950″[An] absolute classic: chances are, if have ever been to a hospital of any kind, you’ve benefited from the care of a Filipinx nurse. . . . Catherine Ceniza Choy traces the long history of that labor back to, you guessed it, the American colonization of the Philippines, which makes this book a vital work of American history as much as it is a cornerstone of Filipinx history, labor history, and feminist history.”―Elaine Castillo, Electric Lit From the Back Cover “”Empire of Care” is an extremely important work, a milestone in Asian American and American studies, and a singular contribution to the emergent field of Filipino American studies.”–Vicente L. Rafael, author of “White Love and Other Events in Filipino History” About the Author Catherine Ceniza Choy is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Read more
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