Rethinking Anti-Japanese Racism in Los Angeles: From Past to Present

CJRC Japanese American Religion and Society Project

A lecture by Dr Lon Kurashige (USC) focusing on anti-Japanese racism in early twentieth century Los Angeles.


This talk examines anti-Japanese racism in early twentieth century Los Angeles to figure out who supported it and who opposed it. The focus is on California’s alien land law, the subject of the state’s most controversial ballot measure in the 1920 general election. Who voted for the anti-Japanese proposition in Los Angeles? Who voted against it? And what lessons do their votes have for understanding past and present anti-immigrant racism?


Lon Kurashige teaches at the University of Southern California, where he is associate professor in the departments of History and American Studies and Ethnicity.  He is author of Japanese American Celebration and Conflict: A History of Ethnic Identity and Festival, 1934-1990, winner of the History book prize from the Association for Asian American Studies in 2004.  He has written essays for many scholarly publications, including the Journal of American History and Pacific Historical Review, and is co-editor of the book Major Problems in Asian American History (2003).  He is currently an ABE fellow with the Social Science Research Council and has received Fulbright and Rockefeller awards.  The content of this talk is part of an on-going book project that reinterprets the history of Asian immigration exclusion.

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