Beth Lew-Williams — The Chinese Must Go: Violence, Exclusion, and the Making of the Alien in America, November 7, 2018

1262Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 at 6PM — Labyrinth Books Princeton

The American West erupted in anti-Chinese violence in 1885. Following the massacre of Chinese miners in Wyoming Territory, communities throughout California and the Pacific Northwest harassed, assaulted, and expelled thousands of Chinese immigrants. Beth Lew-Williams shows how American immigration policies incited this violence and how the violence, in turn, provoked new exclusionary policies. The present resurgence of xenophobia builds mightily upon past fears of the “heathen Chinaman.” Please join us for this timely discussion with the author.

Ultimately, Lew-Williams argues, Chinese expulsion and exclusion produced the concept of the “alien” in modern America. By locating the origins of the modern American alien in this violent era, Lew-Williams recasts the significance of Chinese exclusion in U.S. history. As The Chinese Must Go makes clear, anti-Chinese law and violence continues to have consequences for today’s immigrants.

Beth Lew-Williams is Assistant Professor of History at Princeton University and a contributor to the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University.

This event is cosponsored by Princeton University’s Humanities Council

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