Converging Empires

Citizens and Subjects in the North Pacific Borderlands, 1867–1945

By Andrea Geiger

368 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 17 halftones, 4 maps

Not for Sale in Canada

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-4114-0
    Published: July 2022
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6048-4
    Published: March 2022
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-5927-5
    Published: July 2022
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-6784-3
    Published: March 2022

David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History

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Making a vital contribution to our understanding of North American borderlands history through its examination of the northernmost stretches of the U.S.-Canada border, Andrea Geiger highlights the role that the North Pacific borderlands played in the construction of race and citizenship on both sides of the international border from 1867, when the United States acquired Russia’s interests in Alaska, through the end of World War II. Imperial, national, provincial, territorial, reserve, and municipal borders worked together to create a dynamic legal landscape that both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people negotiated in myriad ways as they traversed these borderlands. Adventurers, prospectors, laborers, and settlers from Europe, Canada, the United States, Latin America, and Asia made and remade themselves as they crossed from one jurisdiction to another.

Within this broader framework, Geiger pays particular attention to the ways in which Japanese migrants and the Indigenous people who had made this borderlands region their home for millennia—Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian among others—negotiated the web of intersecting boundaries that emerged over time, charting the ways in which they infused these reconfigured national, provincial, and territorial spaces with new meanings.

Published with support provided by the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas

About the Author

Andrea Geiger is author of the award-winning Subverting Exclusion: Transpacific Encounters with Race, Caste, and Borders, 1885–1928.
For more information about Andrea Geiger, visit the Author Page.


"A penetrating story . . . . As a history, Geiger’s work is equally complex, categorical, and deeply atmospheric; she does her subjects historical justice."—Matt Matsuda, The Western Historical Quarterly

"Impressive . . . . Despite covering a large geography and a wide array of nations, Converging Empires remains accessible. The writing is clean and clear . . . . [the book] does a wonderful job showcasing how disparate stories – Indigenous labour and resistance, Japanese immigration, and colonial expansion – intersected to create a new social world along the Pacific coast."—Canadian Historical Review

"Converging Empires destabilizes land‐centric modes of borderland studies and instead considers dynamic maritime spaces and waterways of the Pacific Ocean . . . . a multifaceted and complicated story of historical encounter, economic migration, settler colonialism, and wartime exclusion."—Canadian Geographies

"Converging Empires makes clear the ways Indigenous peoples and others on the fringe of the dominant Euro-American societies shaped, and complicated, the relations between the United States and Great Britain and Canada . . . . There is much to learn in this valuable work."—Diplomatic History

"Fully readable, with carefully chosen photographs, Converging Empires is a significant addition to the growing postcolonial study of Alaska and western Canada. It should be essential reading for scholars and students considering the historical agency of the Indigenous people there, the mixed-heritage legacy of settlement, and the environmental impact of development."—Stephen Haycox, Journal of American History

"In total, as a remarkable contribution to the field of Pacific history and the US West, Geiger’s thoughtful analysis of legal, social, borderlands, migration labor, war, and political history uncovers Western settler-colonial settlement of the North Pacific, Asian migration, racialization of Asian bodies, and Indigenous land rights."—Journal of Arizona History