Praise for Empire of Care

Catherine Ceniza Choy’s Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History is an original study that successfully reconceptualizes Asian American and Filipino American history through a broad, transnational approach to studying Flipina American nurses. By using sources in both the Philippines and the United States to trace the educational training and networks of migration of nurses from the Philippines to the United States, Choy has created a nuanced and theoretically sophisticated account that offers insights not only on the intersections of race, gender, class, and nation, but also on the legacies of U.S. empire on both the Philippines and the United States. Placing the mass migrations of Filipino nurses and medical technicians within the structures built by colonial power, Choy explains how these flows were not an arbitrary accident of history but the consequence and manifestation of U.S. empire.


A richly researched, intelligent, and compelling study, Empire of Care is an exemplar of a truly transnational study that breaks new ground by being cognizant of the ongoing, unequal relationship between the United States and the Philippines, yet remains sensitive to the aspirations, experiences, and difficulties faced by Filipina nurses as they have practiced their profession in the United States. She brings the history of Filipina nurses alive with oral history interviews, providing a model for how archival sources and analyses of government policy can be powerfully engaged with methods such as oral history developed by Asian Americanists.Association for Asian American Studies History Book Award Citation, Henry Yu, Journal of Asian American Studies


Catherine Ceniza Choy is one of the few critical voices in the North American academia whose work on the connections between empire building in Asia and the Pacific and American history exposes not only the persistence of US imperialism but its invisibility in the American mass media and other postmodern (and persistent) developmentalist discourses in the academe. The racialization, feminization, and commodification of migrant nurses are discussed alongside their efforts to form organizations and support networks to struggle against the conditions that shape their profession.—Sarah Raymundo, Kasarinlan Review 


Linking immigration, colonialism, and imperialism, Choy brilliantly demonstrates how nursing in the United States, rather than simply as a gendered and racialized institution, has to be understood as 'an international arena for the conflict and cooperation of predominately women workers worldwide.'—Shu-Ju Ada Cheng, Gender & Society


In Empire of Care she charts the development of an international Filipino nurse labor force, drawing together studies of U.S. imperialism, immigration policy, hospital management, and nursing. She also provides us with a model of how to combine, with sensitivity and insight, archival sources and contemporary interviews.—Warwick Anderson, Bulletin of the History of Medicine

Empire of Care is a highly appropriate work for upper-division and graduate courses in Asian American studies, women's studies, and history. Students and scholars alike should especially appreciate the clarity of its arguments, its theoretical advances, and solid research.”—Jonathan Okamura, Amerasia Journal 


Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History is a sweeping and important study of race, gender, and labor in a transnational context. Blending feminist, race-critical, and global frameworks, Catherine Ceniza Choy presents a fresh look at Asian Pacific women’s activities as students, organizers, and professionals in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This “post- nationalist” American Studies treatment offers a powerful interpre- tation of Filipino/Filipino American women’s history, as well as an impressive research and writing model for transnational work.—Patricia A. Schechter, Pacific Historical Review


. . . Choy crafts a historical account of the Filipino nurse diaspora that is contextually rich and accurate while exploring related issues of nursing's gender, race, and class stratification from both the sending and receiving nations.—Barbara L. Brush, Nursing History Review


. . . Choy’s clearly written study engages the reader with the history of Filipino nurses as an ongoing social history that highlights the contradictions of the politics of globalization while sharing the victories, both small and large, of Filipino nurses.—Eric Estuar Reyes, Journal of Asian American Studies


Empire of Care is a truly transnational history, well researched in U.S. and Philippine government documents, newspapers, and nursing collections and richly informed by oral histories. By linking migration history to U.S. imperial history and Asian American history to Philippine history, it makes significant contributions to all these fields. Scholars looking to internationalize U.S. medical, labor, and women’s history also should be sure to consult this clearly written and engaging book.—Kristin Hoganson, The Journal of American History


“Overall, Empire of Care is an important work. In focusing on nurse migrations, it challenges the ideology of American exceptionalism within immigration history. In going beyond national borders, it revises the portrayal of America's history in the Philippines as benevolent. And in examining transnationalism's effects upon both the sending and receiving countries, it addresses United States popular culture, American national identity, immigration concerns and the United States economy while also linking these issues to imperial rule and the Philippine context.”—Arleen de Vera, Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History


. . . Choy's study effectively expands the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of American ethnic history, particularly the assumption that migration is a spontaneous response to socioeconomic inequalities in the world system. The transnational and historical context of United States imperialism facilitates a more complicated picture of institutions, structural factors, skills, and desires that constitute a culture of Filipino nurse migration over the twentieth century.—Kimberly Alidio, Journal of American Ethnic History


“. . . her lively handling of the intersection of ideas clustered around the figure of the Filipina-American nurse renders this monograph indispensable reading for scholars of immigration, diaspora, American empire, and ethnicity.”—Madeline Y. Hsu, American Historical Review


Empire of Care is an extremely important work, a milestone in Asian American and American studies, and a singular contribution to the emergent field of Filipino American studies.”—Vicente L. Rafael, author of White Love and Other Events in Filipino History


Empire of Care provides an eloquent analysis and exciting transnational interpretive framework for understanding the political economy of American imperialism and the immigration of Filipino nurses. Catherine Ceniza Choy’s lively and vivid history of women who connected the professional and the home spheres to become architects of their own lives against the backdrop of race, gender, and class constructions is an impressive contribution. Students of nursing, immigration, and social history will benefit enormously from this theoretically insightful and absorbing volume.—Darlene Clark Hine, author of Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950




Chicago Tribune, “Rare photos, interviews honor memory of 8 nurses slain by Richard Speck,” by Rosemary Regina Sobol, April 28, 2016.


FilipiKnow, “10 Contemporary Filipina Authors You Absolutely Should Be Reading,” by FilipiKnow, September 2, 2015.


Migration Information Source, “Filipino Immigrants in the United States” by Keith McNamara and Jeanne Batalova, July 21, 2015.


AsianWeek and New America Media, “Why Are There So Many Filipino Nurses in the US?” by Rodel Rodis, May 18, 2013.


The Journal of American History, "The Big Tent of U.S. Women's and Gender History: A State of the Field," by Cornelia H. Dayton and Lisa Levenstein (December 2012): 793-817.


National Nurse, “Substandard Care: Despite being valued and essential members of the American RN workforce, Filipino nurses must still often challenge and overcome bias and discrimination,” by Momo Chang, (October 2011): 14-19.


Hyphen, “Medical Malpractice?: Filipino nurses fight back against discrimination in the workplace,” by Catherine A. Traywick, 24 (Winter 2011): 46-51.


Feminist eZine, “Nurturers by Nature?: A Look at the Overrepresentation of Filipina women in the U.S. Health Care Industry,” by Christina Leano, December 2007.


San Francisco Chronicle Pinoy Podcast interview, March 2007.


Asian Journal, “Catherine Ceniza Choy: Historian Makes History,” two-part series, February and March 2007.


Seattle Times, “Taking Care,” by Paula Bock, December 10, 2006.


Minority Nurse, “Philippine Nurses in the U.S.—Yesterday and Today,” by Barbara Marquand, June 2006.


Reason Magazine, “Hello Nurse! Is the U.S. stealing health care workers from abroad?”  by Kerry Howley, May 30, 2006.


Chicago Tribune, “Filipinos Carry On Legacy of Nursing,” by Rachel Osterman, October 2006.


NurseWeek News, “A Proud Nursing Heritage: Focus on the Philippines,” by Rebecca Ray, April 11, 2005.


The Daily Californian, “Filipino Awareness Week: New Professor Makes History,” by Rachel Luna, October 22, 2004.


The Next American City, “The Search For Nurses Ends in Manila,” by Cheryl D. Ching, March 2004.


KQED Pacific Time public radio interview, February 2004. (Philippine News for Filipinos), “Your Cap is a Passport,” February 2004.


Los Angeles Times, “Physician, Remake Thyself,” by Alan Zarembo, January 10, 2004. (Canadian television’s online home for news and entertainment), “Minorities Inject Reality into ER,” January 2004.


Me (Philippine magazine), “RN: Recruiting Nurses,” October 2003.


The Filipino Express, “Understanding Migration of Filipino Nurses to U.S.,” June 9-15, 2003.


NurseWeek News, “Coming to America,” April 16, 2003.


Minnesota Women’s Press, “Blackboard Revolution: Feminist Scholarship Connects the Ivory Tower to the Tip Jar,” by Asa Wilson, April 9, 2003.


AsianWeek and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center's BookDragon, "New and Notable Books," by Terry Hong, March 28, 2003.


Town & Village, “Stuy Town Author Charts History of Nursing ‘Army,’” March 27, 2003.


Asian American Press, “Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History,” March 21, 2003.


Filipino Reporter, “R.N. Migration to the U.S. Retold,” March 14-20, 2003.


 KFAI Filipino American National News public radio interview, March 2003.


Southwest Journal, “Humanizing Immigrant Nurses,” by Caitlin Pine, February 6-19, 2003.


Kiosk, “The Mixed Legacy of Filipino Nurses,” December 1999.

© 2015 by CATHERINE CENIZA CHOY. Proudly Created with


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