Hidetaka Hirota

Visiting Assistant Professor

The City College of New York

Hidetaka Hirota is a historian of the United States with particular interests in immigration, race and ethnicity, political economy, and transnational history. Before joining City College, he was a Mellon Research Fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at Columbia University. He received his Ph.D. in History from Boston College, where his dissertation was awarded the university’s best humanities dissertation prize.

Professor Hirota’s first book, Expelling the Poor, is a social and legal study that fundamentally revises the history of immigration restriction in the United States, especially deportation policy. Challenging the conventional understanding that the introduction of federal laws to restrict Chinese immigration in the late nineteenth century was the beginning of American immigration control, the book demonstrates how the states of New York and Massachusetts regulated immigration since the eighteenth century and locates the roots of American immigration control in anti-Irish nativism and economics on the Atlantic seaboard.

Professor Hirota is currently working on two book projects. One of them, The Business of the Nation, examines the significance of foreign contract labor in American immigration history, demonstrating how concerns about contract laborers from Asia, Europe, and Mexico transformed immigration control from a regional affair for coastal states to an issue of national-level significance in the United States. He is also developing another book, Democratic Intolerance, which provides a synthetic history of American nativism surveying the trajectory of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States from the American Revolution to the present.