Listen to Jhumpa Bhattacharya and Ellen Wu discuss intersections of race, nation, and policy-making as they examine Asian American history and the creation of the model minority stereotype.


A self-described “Asian American history detective,” Dr. Ellen Wu is an associate professor of history and director of the Asian American Studies program at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Jhumpa Bhattacharya, Director of Racial Equity and Strategy, welcomed Ellen on the podcast to discuss her groundbreaking research on 20th century Asian American history, which she approaches with a critical eye on race, immigration, citizenship, and policy-making.

Ellen’s first book, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority, details the sociopolitical context for the stark transformation of Asian American stereotypes in 20th century America, when fears of the “yellow peril” gave way to an embrace of the “model minority.”

In exploring the intricate tensions and contradictions of this history, Jhumpa and Ellen discussed how politics, race relations, and other factors informed the development of the “model minority” myth, and they considered its ongoing implications for racial equity and opportunity in the U.S.

They also looked ahead to Ellen’s next project, a “sort of sequel” to The Color of Success that will provide a critical history of race-making, policy-making, and migration in the U.S. since the 1960s.

To listen to the full discussion, use the audio player above or subscribe to the Hidden Truths podcast on iTunes.


To learn more about Dr. Ellen Wu’s research, view her faculty profile and follow her on Twitter.