"Subverting Exclusion" by Andrea Geiger

Subverting Exclusion Transpacific Encounters with Race, Caste, and Borders, 1885-1928 Andrea Geiger

The Lamar Series in Western History
Publication date:
29 Nov 2011
Yale University Press
304 pages: 235 x 156 x 22mm
18 b-w illus.
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The Japanese immigrants who arrived in the North American West in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries included people with historical ties to Japan's outcaste communities. In the only English-language book on the subject, Andrea Geiger examines the history of these and other Japanese immigrants in the United States and Canada and their encounters with two separate cultures of exclusion, one based in caste and the other in race.

Geiger reveals that the experiences of Japanese immigrants in North America were shaped in part by attitudes rooted in Japan's formal status system, mibunsei, decades after it was formally abolished. In the North American West, however, the immigrants' understanding of social status as caste-based collided with American and Canadian perceptions of status as primarily race-based. Geiger shows how the lingering influence of Japan's strict status system affected immigrants' perceptions and understandings of race in North America and informed their strategic responses to two increasingly complex systems of race-based exclusionary law and policy.

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Winner of the 2012 Theodore Saloutos Memorial Book Award sponsored by the Immigration and Ethnic History Society

Andrea Geiger is associate professor of history at Simon Fraser University.

"Elegantly written and deeply insightful, Geiger deftly combines an understanding of the law and racial formation and has offered a truly transnational history that blends Asian, Asian American, and broader issues of American immigration history."--K. Scott Wong, Williams College