“John Doe Chinaman:” Race and Law in the American West

When it comes to the history of Chinese in America, the border has caught our eyes and held them. Chinese migrants’ attempts to cross the border, and America’s attempts to stop them, is the story we have told and retold. But long before Chinese faced the first exclusion laws, they endured a racial regime within America, and long afterwards as well. This is the history of that racial regime and the lives it touched.

Lecture Description

Lew-William’s talk comes from her ongoing book project, tentatively titled John Doe Chinaman: Race and Law in the American West, which considers the regulation of Chinese migrants within the United States during the nineteenth century. Immigration law may have excluded Chinese migrants from the nation for more than fifty years, but those who were already in America (and those who continued to arrive) were also included within the political economy and racial regime of the American West. This book will explore the terms of that inclusion, focusing in particular on the role of civil and criminal law.


Asian American Legal and Constitutional

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