UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Oregon and global insurgency : Punjabis of the Columbia River Basin Ogden, Johanna


This essay explores the often overlooked but critical role of Punjabi laborers of Oregon in forming the radical Indian nationalist Ghadar Party in 1913. It addresses the international, national, and local forces behind the Punjabis’ migration to the state and the particular conditions they encountered once there. Framed by a series of post-9/l 1 concerns about the targeting of Arabs, Muslims, and South Asians, this inquiry explores not only the historical and social constructions of “us” and “them,” citizen and non-citizen, but the experience of Punjabi migrant laborers in remote Astoria, Oregon, where hardened racial and national lines were seemingly loosened. The repercussions of this were, I argue, global in nature, signaling the trans-national and indeed trans-hemispheric constituents of processes and events typically thought of as local and isolated. At a fundamental level, then, this thesis seeks to join the micro and macro, the particular and the general, and by virtue of excavating a “case study,” argues for a reconfigured approach that sees local history and global history as indissoluble.

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