The Third Asiatic Invasion

Migration and Empire in Filipino America, 1898-1946

309 pages

February, 2011

ISBN: 9780814791097



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Rick Baldoz is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Oberlin College.

All books by Rick Baldoz

Winner of the 2012-2013 Asian/Pacific American Librarian's Association Book Award 

Winner of the 2013 American Sociological Association's Asia and Asian America Section Distinguished Book Award
The first half of the twentieth century witnessed a wave of Filipino immigration to the United States, following in the footsteps of earlier Chinese and Japanese immigrants, the first and second “Asiatic invasions.” Perceived as alien because of their Asian ethnicity yet legally defined as American nationals granted more rights than other immigrants, Filipino American national identity was built upon the shifting sands of contradiction, ambiguity, and hostility.

Rick Baldoz explores the complex relationship between Filipinos and the U.S. by looking at the politics of immigration, race, and citizenship on both sides of the Philippine-American divide: internationally through an examination of American imperial ascendancy and domestically through an exploration of the social formation of Filipino communities in the United States. He reveals how American practices of racial exclusion repeatedly collided with the imperatives of U.S. overseas expansion. A unique portrait of the Filipino American experience, The Third Asiatic Invasion links the Filipino experience to that of Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, Chinese and Native Americans, among others, revealing how the politics of exclusion played out over time against different population groups.

Weaving together an impressive range of materials—including newspapers, government reports, legal documents and archival sources—into a seamless narrative, Baldoz illustrates how the quixotic status of Filipinos played a significant role in transforming the politics of race, immigration and nationality in the United States.


  • “A scrupulously researched and compellingly argued work of historical sociology. Baldoz has an eye for the telling details that help to illuminate larger patterns of American empire, racial formation, and the politics of immigration. This elegant book makes a quantum leap by integrating Filipino and Filipino American scholarship and will surely become a classic in racial and ethnic studies.”

    —Evelyn Nakano Glenn, author of Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America

  • “Rigorously argued and deeply documented, The Third Asiatic Invasion is an urgent and necessary book on how race and empire played out in the Filipino experience in America. Baldoz redefines how we should study race, moving beyond the banal assertion of race as a social construction to explain the continuous process of race and boundary making and remaking. Bravo!”

    —Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, author of Racism Without Racists

  • "Baldoz has made a difficult period in the Filipino American saga understandable."

    —M.P. Onorato, Choice

  • "The Third Asiatic Invasion is a major contribution toward understanding the unstable status of Filipinos in America during this period, and it sheds light on the similarities and differences between the earlier period of American empire and today’s globalization."

    Journal of World History

  • "The Third Asiatic Invasion is a major contribution toward understanding the unstable status of Filipinos in America during this period, and it sheds light on the similarities and differences between the earlier period of American empire and today's globalization."

    —Journal of World History

  • "This book on the political economy and politics of Filipino immigration to the United States is an excellent study of the paradoxes and contradictions of racialized citizenship."

    American Sociological Association

  • “Across the diverse range of events and source materials of Rick Baldoz’s insightful, well-researched, and richly detailed sociological history of Filipino America that spans the formal colonial era between the United States and the Philippines, a telling motif emerges: test cases in anti-miscegenation law.”

    International Migration Review