Jana K. Lipman Professor Department of History Tulane University

Jana K. Lipman

Hebert 113


Ph.D., Yale University, 2006


Research Interests

I am a scholar of U.S. foreign relations, U.S. immigration, and labor history. While my research spans numerous geographies, from Cuba to Hong Kong, at its core it investigates the local histories of diplomatic politics.

My first monograph, Guantánamo: A Working-Class History between Empire and Revolution (University of California Press, 2009), argued how Cuban base workers were key actors in shaping U.S.-Cuban relations in Guantánamo, before, during, and after the revolution.

My new book, In Camps: Vietnamese Refugees, Asylum-Seekers, and Repatriates (University of California Press, 2020), reveals how first asylum sites (places that hosted refugee camps) “pushed” the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to reshape international refugee policy. It also argues how Vietnamese activists in the camps and diasporic activists in resettlement countries influenced U.S. and international refugee policy. This project engages with questions raised by historians of human rights, humanitarianism, refugee studies, and Asian American studies.

I have also published essays about the relationship between the U.S. military and refugee camps, and I have co-edited multiple projects on U.S. empire. My future projects include investigating the histories of sexual violence and the U.S. military, collaborative projects on Southeast Asia and U.S. foreign relations, and an ongoing commitment to public history.

I teach a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in U.S. foreign relations, immigration, and 20th century political history. Specialized classes include seminars on the U.S. War in Vietnam, U.S. Public History, and Labor and Migration. I have also taught numerous service learning classes and mentored student internships. At the graduate level, I mentor students in 20th century U.S. history, U.S. Empire, U.S.-Latin American relations, and Labor History.

Selected Publications

Books, Translations, and Edited Collections

Journal of American-East Asian Relations, Special Issue: Persistence and Transformation in Southeast Asia: Region, Nation, and Diaspora beyond the U.S. War in Vietnam, Co-editor with Mark Lawrence (University of Texas), September 2022. 

  • Co-author of Introduction with Mark Atwood Lawrence.  

In Camps: Vietnamese Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Repatriates. Oakland: University of California Press, 2020.

 In Camps

The Ship of Fate: The Memoir of a Vietnamese Repatriate By Tran Dinh Tru. Co-Translator with Bac Hoai Tran. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2017.

• Author, “Introduction,” The Ship of Fate.

 The Ship of Fate


American Quarterly: Tours of Duty/Tours of Leisure: The Politics and Cultures of Militarism and Tourism. Co-Edited Special Issue with Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez (University of Hawai’i) and Teresia Teaiwa, (Victoria University of Wellington), Fall 2016.

• Co-Author of “Introduction: Tours of Duty, Tours of Leisure” with Vernadette Vicuna Gonzalez

American Quarterly


Making the Empire Work: Labor and United States Imperialism. Co-editor with Daniel Bender (University of Toronto), New York: NYU Press, 2015.

• Co-author of introduction with Daniel E. Bender, “Through the Looking Glass: U.S. Empire Through the Lens of Labor History”

Making the Empire Work


Guantánamo: A Working-Class History between Empire and Revolution. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2009.


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Habeas Corpus,” Vietnam War in the Pacific, eds. Brian Cuddy and Fredrik Logevall, University of North Carolina Press, 2022. 

“War, Persecution, and Displacement: U.S. Refugee Policy Since 1945,”At War: Militarism and U.S. Culture in the 20th Century and Beyond, eds. David Kieran and Edwin A. Martini, Rutgers University Press, 2018.

“Where is Guantánamo in Granma? Competing Discourses on Detention and Terrorism” Guantánamo and the Empire of Freedom: Politics and the Humanities at a Global Crossroads, eds., Don Walicek and Jessica Adams, Palgrave McMillan Press, 2018.

“ ‘A Precedent Worth Setting…’: Military Humanitarianism: The U.S. Military and the 1975 Vietnamese Evacuation,” Journal of Military History, January 2015.

“A Refugee Camp in America: Fort Chaffee and Vietnamese and Cuban Refugees, 1975-1982,” Journal of American Ethnic History, Winter 2014.

“ ‘The Fish Trusts the Water, and It is in the Water that it is Cooked’: The Caribbean Origins of the Krome Detention Center,” Radical History Review Special Issue on “Haiti and the World,” Winter 2013.

“ ‘Give Us a Ship’: Vietnamese Repatriates on Guam, 1975,” American Quarterly, March 2012.

  • Winner of the Constance Rourke Essay Prize for the best article published in American Quarterly 2012.
  • Featured in Teaching the American Quarterly, http://www.americanquarterly.org/interact/teaching.html

“ ‘The Face is the Roadmap’: Vietnamese Amerasians in U.S. Political and Popular Culture, 1980-1988,” Journal of Asian American Studies, February 2011: 33-68.

“Between Guantánamo and Montego Bay: Cuba, Jamaica, Migration, and the Cold War, 1959-1962,” Immigrants and Minorities, November 2002: 25-51.

“ ‘Airlines. Lousy Unions.’ Labor in the Era of Junk Bonds and Wall Street Buyouts.” In The 1980s: A Critical and Transitional Decade?” Eds. Kimberly Moffitt and Duncan Campbell. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2011.

“Guantánamo and the Case of Kid Chicle: Labor, Privatization, and the Law in the Expansion of US Empire.” In Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State. Eds. Alfred McCoy and Francisco Scarano. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2009.

“ “Buenos Vecinos”, Ciudadanos y Súbditos: Nacionalidad y Competencia Laboral en la Base Naval de Estados Unidos en Guantánamo.” Trans. Rolando García Milián. Ed. Hernán Venegas Delgado et al. Historia Regional y Local. Las ciudades, su historia y su proyección en la región. Cuba-México, Centro Universitario de Los Altos de la Universidad de Guadalajara, Universidad Intercultural de Chiapas, Instituto de Historia de Cuba y Universidad Autónoma de Chapingo, 2008, pp. 209-218.

Invited/Solicited Essays

"Ex-China Vietnamese Illegal Immigrants: The Creation and Contestation of an Unwieldy Acronym," Stateless Histories, January 24, 2022, https://statelesshistories.org/article/just-a-test-artilc 

“American Exceptionalism Dies Hard”  Diplomatic History Covid-19 Forum, Diplomatic History, June 2021. https://academic.oup.com/dh/article/45/3/525/6311868?login=true

“Immigrant and Black in Edwdige Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying,” Forum: Nation of Immigrants, Modern American History, 2018.

“U.S. Political History in the Age of Trump: A Review Essay,” Nanzan Review of American Studies, 2017.

Selected Prizes and Fellowships

Fulbright-Diplomatic Academy, Vienna School of International Studies, Visiting Professor, 2022
Honorable Mention, Association of Asian American Studies Book Prize, History Division, 2022
Honorable Mention, Robert Ferrell Book Prize, SHAFR, 2021
Office of Research Award in Student Research Mentoring, 2021
Newcomb Tulane College Honors Professor of the Year, 2019
Newcomb Tulane College Advising Excellence Award, 2018
OAH/JAAS Japan Residency, Osaka University, 2017
Tulane School of Liberal Arts April Brayfield Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2015
Constance Rourke Essay Prize for the best article published in American Quarterly , 2012
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Research Travel Grant, 2011
General and Mrs. Matthew B. Ridgway Military History Research Grant, 2010
Co-Winner Taft Book Prize in Labor History, 2009