Miller Center

Carl Bon Tempo

History, University of Virginia

The Politics of American Refugee Policy, 1952–1980

Bon Tempo photo

Carl Bon Tempo is Associate Professor of History at the State University New York, Albany.

Bon Tempo's work explores the links between domestic political history and America’s role in the world. He maintains a particular focus on the histories of refugees, immigration, and human rights.

Bon Tempo wrote his dissertation on the formation and implementation of the American government's policies toward refugees between 1952 and 1980, arguing that the study of refugee policies provides an opportunity to examine how Americans (in and out of government) conceived of citizenship and "American-ness" in the post-World War II era – and that these conceptions vitally influenced the intent and character of specific refugee policies and programs. He displayed that post-World War II era American refugee policies and laws, and the contentious deliberations that produced them, resembled the larger debates about citizenship and national identity occurring during that period.

Fellowship year: 2003

Mentor: Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University

Selected Recent Publications

Americans at the Gate: The United States and Refugees During the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2008).

From the Center-Right: Freedom House and Human Rights in the 1970s and 1980s” in  Petra Goedde and William Hitchcock, eds, The Human Rights Revolution: An International History,  (New York: Oxford University Press, January 2012).

American Exceptionalism and Modern Immigration History in the United States.” in Jamey Carson and Sylvia Soderlind, eds., American Exceptionalisms (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, December, 2011.)

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