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Oct 25, 2019

Interviewer: MATTHEW BERKMAN. Since its beginnings after the Revolutionary War, refugee policy has helped establish the contours of the U.S. nation-state, argues EVAN TAPARATA, the 2018-2020 Mitchell Center JMC Postdoctoral Fellow (a fellowship supported by the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History). Taparata’s dissertation, No Asylum for Mankind: The Creation of Refugee Law and Policy in the United States, 1776-1951, won the 2019 Best Dissertation Award in the Arts & Humanities from the University of Minnesota. In his discussion with political scientist Matthew Berkman, Taparata traces the history of refugee policy to the beginnings of the American republic and reveals the ways that it has always been subordinate to national projects that have benefited the U.S. These range from the resettlement of pro-Revolutionary Canadians on land wrested from Native Americans to the rhetorical imperative during the Cold War of presenting America as a humane refuge from the evils of Communism.