Cindy I-Fen Cheng

Position title: Resident Fellow (2017-2018)

History, UW-Madison

Portrait image of Cindy I-Fen Cheng in front of blue archival boxes

Race, Immigration, and Urban Poverty: The Growth of California’s Skid Rows, 1945-1990

“Race, Immigration, and Urban Poverty: The Growth of California’s Skid Rows, 1945-1990” is a book-length study that examines how the residence of Central American refugees in Los Angeles Skid Row and Southeast Asian refugees in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco during the 1980s shaped the broader history of homelessness in the U.S. Their residence in California’s skid rows contributed to the rise of homeless women and children, expanded the multiracial character of the extremely poor population, and revealed how skid rows emerged as key sites of refugee resettlement. The attention to U.S. Cold War politics adds a new dimension to the study of homelessness, where the nation’s intervention in the affairs of Southeast Asia and Central America worked together with deindustrialization and deinstitutionalization to affect the rise in extreme poverty. This study is well positioned to appeal to a broad audience, bringing together the themes of war and society, refugee resettlement, and urban poverty.

Cindy I-Fen Cheng is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies at UW-Madison. She is the award-winning author of Citizens of Asian America: Democracy and Race during the Cold War (NYU Press, 2013) and editor of The Routledge Handbook of Asian American Studies (Routledge Press, 2016). Her articles have appeared in the American Quarterly, Journal of Asian American Studies, and other academic journals and anthologies. In spring 2018, she will be the next Director of Asian American Studies. Cindy is the recipient of numerous teaching awards, most recently the UW-Madison Distinguished Teaching Award – Chancellor’s Inclusive Excellence Award and The Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Award for Service as Outstanding Mentor. She is a member of the 2017 American Studies Association Program Committee, the Immigration and Ethnic History Society Theodore Saloutos Book Award Committee, and the Organization of American Historian Liberty Legacy Foundation Book Award Committee.