A. Naomi Paik

A. Naomi Paik is an associate professor of Criminology, Law, & Justice and Global Asian Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She published Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II (UNC Press, 2016; winner, Best Book in History, AAAS 2018; runner-up, John Hope Franklin prize for best book in American Studies, ASA, 2017). Her book Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary: Understanding U.S. Immigration for the 21st Century (2020, University of California Press), examines the long-developing criminalization of foreign-born people in the United States and the need for radical, abolitionist approaches to sanctuary.

She is currently working on a book-length manuscript on the most capacious meaning of “sanctuary for all” and developing another on military outsourcing.

As a board member of the Radical History Review, she has co-edited three special issues of the journal—on “Militarism and Capitalism (Winter 2019), “Radical Histories of Sanctuary” (Fall 2019), and “Policing, Justice, and the Radical Imagination” (Spring 2020). She has published articles in Social Text, Radical History Review, Cultural Dynamics, Race & Class, e-misferica, Humanity, The Conversation, The Funambulist, and the collection Guantánamo and American Empire.

Her research and teaching interests include comparative ethnic studies; U.S. imperialism; U.S. militarism; social and cultural approaches to legal studies; transnational and women of color feminisms; carceral spaces; and labor, race, and migration.

Current Events

2020 - 2021

Cornell University – July 15
Western Washington University – May 6
New York University – April 6
Syracuse University – April 5
Association of Asian American Studies – April 8
Balgopol Lecture, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign – March 11
Spurlock Museum – March 4
Oxford University – March 3
DePaul University – March 2
“Violence and White Supremacy,” University of Illinois, Chicago –
Cooper Union, NYC – February 2
Center for Constitutional Rights – January 11
“Understanding Abolition Speaker Series: An American Studies Association Freedom Course – January 8
“Transnational Migration Deterrence and the Possibilities for #AbolishICE,” University of Illinois, Chicago – November 18
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN – November 12
Yale University, New Haven, CT – November 10
Notre Dame University, South Bend, IN – October 28
Duke University, Durham, NC – October 26
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC – October 21
UIUC, “We Rise Abolition Speaker Series: Solidarity Across Communities,” Champaign, IL – October 20
The New School, “Immigration Short Takes: Race, Immigration, and Black Mobility,” NYC – October 20
Horace Mann High School, “Race and Ethnicity Speaker Series: Race and Immigration,” in conversation with Ana Minian NYC – October 6
Harvard University, The Mahindra Humanities Center, “Border Inhumanities: How Did We Get Here?” – October 5
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York,  NYC – October 1
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ – September 17
Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), “The History of the Deportation Machine,” F*ck ICE/Chinga la Migra Teach-In,” Chicago, IL – August 18
Books in Bloom Literary Festival, “Immigration and Identity,” panel with Laura Briggs
Booksmith Bookstore, San Franisco, CA – August 3
University of Illinois, Chicago, Fierce Feminist Book Party – July 24
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, “Asians in Solidarity with Black Lives: Defund Doubt Teach-In,” Boston, MA – July 18
Brown University, Providence, RI – March 5-6
University of Texas, Austin – February 13, 2020
Princeton University – February 3, 2020
University of California, Irvine – January 24, 2020

“A. Naomi Paik’s meticulous book opens new interpretative approaches to fundamental problems of U.S. sovereignty and democracy.  A challenging historical survey of the relationship between normal styles of government and states of emergency has been artfully combined with a bold defense of the value of rights in the struggles of the excluded, racialized, and incarcerated.”

–Paul Gilroy, Professor of American and English Literature, King’s College London

Winner, Best Book in History, 2018, Association for Asian American Studies

Finalist/Runner Up, John Hope Franklin Award for Best Book in American Studies, 2017, American Studies Association

Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary contextualizes our current reality in a long legacy of racial exclusion in America. If we are to realize a healthy, multiracial democracy in the United States, we must face and learn from this history—understanding it can help us make meaning of the cruelty of our current era in immigration policy and can ultimately put an end to it. We cannot continue on this path. This book reveals a generational opportunity to turn the country in a new direction toward a more just, equitable, and inclusive future for all Americans.”

—Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Cofounder of Families Belong Together