Empire's Tracks: Indigenous Nations, Chinese Workers, and the Transcontinental Railroad, presented by Manu Karuka '00. This newly released book Empire’s Tracks (University of California Press, 2019), boldly reframes the history of the transcontinental railroad from the perspectives of the Cheyenne, Lakota, and Pawnee Native American tribes, and the Chinese migrants who toiled on its path.
In his talk, Karuka will situate the railroad within the violent global histories of colonialism and capitalism. Through an examination of legislative, military, and business records, Karuka will deftly explain the imperial foundations of U.S. political economy.
Tracing the shared paths of Indigenous and Asian American histories, this multi-sited interdisciplinary study connects military occupation to exclusionary border policies, a linked chain spanning the heart of U.S. imperialism. Karaka's highly original and beautifully wrought book unveils how the transcontinental railroad laid the tracks of the U.S. empire.
Karuka is an assistant professor of American studies at Barnard College. He is a coeditor, with Juliana Hu Pegues and Alyosha Goldstein, of On Colonial Unknowing, a special issue of Theory & Event; and with Vivek Bald, Miabi Chatterji, and Sujani Reddy, he is a coeditor of The Sun Never Sets: South Asian Migrants in an Age of U.S. Power (NYU Press, 2013).
His work appears in Critical Ethnic Studies, J19, Settler Colonial Studies, The Settler Complex: Recuperating Binarism in Colonial Studies (UCLA American Indians Studies Center, 2016, edited by Patrick Wolfe), and Formation of United States Colonialism (Duke University Press, 2014, edited by Alyosha Goldstein).
Sponsored by the JD Lewis Memorial Teaching & Research Fund