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This essay explores the rise of Asian Americans as a paradigmatic “model majority” in contemporary U.S. higher education. Focusing specifically on the University of California and its problematic relation with this racial group alongside other people of color, the essay builds a case for ethnic studies scholars to interrogate both the neoliberal institutional frameworks and the necropolitical logics of the modern-day public university. With Asians as vital players in the death-making machinery of the globalizing system, the notion of college as a place to receive “a better life” and the model minority myth are thoroughly scrutinized.

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