ST. PAUL, Minn. (Jan. 16, 2016) — Erika Lee, Ph.D., University of Minnesota history professor, author of “At America’s Gates” and “Angel Island”, will read from her latest book, “The Making of Asian America” (Simon & Schuster, September 2015) at 7 p.m. Feb. 10, 2016 at Hamline Midway Library, 1558 W Minnehaha Ave., St Paul, MN 55104.
Published to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the United States’ Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, “The Making of Asian America” offers perspective on the complicated histories of race and immigration.
Generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made a live in the United States, from the first sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s, to the indentured “coolies” who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; to the Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination from Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II.
Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a “despised minority,” Asian Americans are now held up as America’s “model minorities” in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States. Yet, the diversity and differences among the Asian and Pacific Islander groups in America varies as much as the tapestry of all racial and ethnic groups in the country today.
Erika Lee is the granddaughter of Chinese immigrants who entered the United States through both Angel Island and Ellis Island. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches history at the University of Minnesota, where she is also the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History and Director of the Immigration History Research Center. She is the author of The Making of Asian America, Angel Island (with Judy Yung), and At America’s Gates.