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Compelled to Excel: Immigration, Education, and Opportunity Among Chinese Americansby Louie
Synopses & Reviews
In the contemporary American imagination, Asian Americans are considered the quintessential immigrant success story, a powerful example of how the culture of immigrant families—rather than their race or class—matters in education and upward mobility. Drawing on extensive interviews with second-generation Chinese Americans attending Hunter College, a public commuter institution, and Columbia University, an elite Ivy League school, Vivian Louie challenges the idea that race and class do not matter. Though most Chinese immigrant families see higher education as a necessary safeguard against potential racial discrimination, Louie finds that class differences do indeed shape the students different paths to college.
How do second-generation Chinese Americans view their college plans? And how do they see their incorporation into American life? In addressing these questions, Louie finds that the views and experiences of Chinese Americans have much to do with the opportunities, challenges, and contradictions that all immigrants and their children confront in the United States.
Book News Annotation:
Louie (Harvard Graduate School of Education) explores the range of Chinese American experiences with higher education, in a study of students attending a non-elite college and how their perspectives and paths compared to those of students at an elite college. The text examines the significance of race and class in the educational messages that the children of Chinese immigrants hear from their parents and in the paths that the children take to college, how the children themselves situate the influence of the family in their schooling, and how it fits in with their own understandings of the social world in which they live.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
“In this important book, Vivian Louie explores the variable educational experiences among the second and 1.5 generation children of Chinese immigrants....this study makes an important contribution to studies of the second generation, as well as to the scholarship on higher education. It breaks new ground...”—Ethnic and Racial Studies
“Compelled to Excel makes an important contribution ot the literature of sociology of education and race relations. It is clearly organized, convincingly argued, and well written. The frequent interview excerpts preserve the articulate, thoughtful, and dynamic voices of the respondents, opening doors to individual lives and voices we rarely hear.”—Canadian Journal of Sociology Online
About the Author
Vivian S. Louie is Assistant Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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