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ERIC Number: ED560472
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 285
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-9688-5
In Pursuit of the American Degree: Internationalization, National Security, and the Making of South Asian Foreign Students
Thomas, Susan
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
My dissertation examines how global neoliberal forces intersect with racialized state security practices to shape the transnational subjectivities of South Asian overseas students studying in the U.S. in the post-9/11 moment. These students' movement across national borders to pursue higher education in the United States positions them as ideal neoliberal subjects, while the post-9/11 national security state renders them racially as potential risks to security. In this way, I argue that universities and their overseas student populations are confronting a tension that is central to current geopolitics, namely the contradiction between engaging globalizing processes and protecting national borders in the context of the so-called "war on terror." Drawing from 16 months of ethnographic fieldwork at a public university in New York carried out between 2011 and 2012, my work explores how this tension unfolds in the lives of middle class students migrating from South Asia to study in the U.S. I consider how the ambivalence marking their trajectories informs the values, responsibilities, and decisions of this significant transnational population, as well as of the institution hosting them. Though the global migration of university students has grown substantially in recent decades, and is an important form of skilled migration, it has not been sufficiently studied with the social sciences. It is particularly striking that this population has not figured centrally within the anthropological research on transnationality. Addressing this gap, my research offers an ethnographic perspective that examines the racial and class dimensions of the transnational practices of belonging among South Asian overseas students. By situating the experiences of these students in the specific historical, social, and political economic conditions that structure their transnational trajectories, my work challenges narratives that frame these students as part of a homogenous global elite. I point to "educational debts," the forms of debts that are attached to their pursuit of education in the U.S., as a key regulatory regime shaping the cultural logics of South Asian overseas students as transnational subjects. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York