OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Lon Kurashige

Portrait of Lon Kurashige
Image Credit: Jeff Greenstein

Lon Kurashige is an associate professor of history at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Japanese American Celebration and Conflict: A History of Ethnic Identity and Festival, 1934-1990 (2002), winner of the Association for Asian American Studies' History Book Award. His recent work includes coediting "Conversations in Transpacific History," a special edition of Pacific Historical Review (2014) that will also be published as a book. Kurashige is also a coeditor of Major Problems in Asian American History (2003). He is currently working with a team of historians on new college-level U.S. history textbook and finishing a book about American political debates over anti-Asian racism including policies of immigration exclusion, racial discrimination, and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Addresses the nature of anti-Asian racism and its opposition in the United States through case studies of three prominent political actors: Secretary of State William Seward, California Progress Party founder Chester Rowell, and civil rights lawyer and journalist Carey McWilliams. Together these individuals engaged in over a century of struggles regarding the rights of Asian Americans. Seward defended Chinese immigrants from exclusion; Rowell, at various times, supported the exclusion of Asian immigrants AND defended their civil rights and liberties; McWilliams opposed the internment of Japanese Americans while seeking to build solidarity among all racial minorities in the U.S.
Provides a historical understanding of ethnic identity as a process of social and cultural construction within an ethno-racial group as well as between it and the American mainstream. The focus is on the contested and changing meaning of "Japanese American" starting before World War II and moving through the group's wartime relocation and confinement, and their rising status as "model minorities" in post-war America.