Title

“Asian Invasion”: Social Construction of Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1880s-1920s

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

15-5-2019

End Date

15-5-2019

Abstract

In the 19th century United States, westward expansion in tandem with manifest destiny increased the popularity of white supremacy and subsequently provided the foundations for nativism. Coinciding with this growth of anti-foreignism, the US witnessed the arrival of new groups of immigrants from East Asia in mass. Hope of a wealthier life attracted the Chinese and Japanese immigrants of the mid-19th century who sought to escape economic instability in their home countries. However, influx of newcomers compounded by increasing competition for job opportunities and racial prejudice based on nativist sentiments ignited an unprecedented rise in anti-Asian attitudes towards these immigrants. Such rhetoric was particularly antagonistic towards the Chinese and Japanese immigrants who were lumped together as “Asiatic” menaces. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, this paper traces the nature of stereotyping Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the US up to the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, which banned Japanese immigrants explicitly. To date there have been few attempts to address the nuances between the nature of the social construction of Chinese immigrants in relation to Japanese immigrants in this era of racially charged policies. By analyzing Washington state newspaper articles from this era, this paper distinguishes between the social constructions of Chinese and Japanese immigrants to challenge the American racial hierarchy as static and monolithic.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Marji Morgan

Department/Program

History

Bajwa Source.pptx (13645 kB)

Additional Files

Bajwa Source.pptx (13645 kB)

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May 15th, 12:00 AM May 15th, 12:00 AM

“Asian Invasion”: Social Construction of Chinese and Japanese Immigrants, 1880s-1920s

Ellensburg

In the 19th century United States, westward expansion in tandem with manifest destiny increased the popularity of white supremacy and subsequently provided the foundations for nativism. Coinciding with this growth of anti-foreignism, the US witnessed the arrival of new groups of immigrants from East Asia in mass. Hope of a wealthier life attracted the Chinese and Japanese immigrants of the mid-19th century who sought to escape economic instability in their home countries. However, influx of newcomers compounded by increasing competition for job opportunities and racial prejudice based on nativist sentiments ignited an unprecedented rise in anti-Asian attitudes towards these immigrants. Such rhetoric was particularly antagonistic towards the Chinese and Japanese immigrants who were lumped together as “Asiatic” menaces. Beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, this paper traces the nature of stereotyping Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the US up to the 1924 Johnson-Reed Immigration Act, which banned Japanese immigrants explicitly. To date there have been few attempts to address the nuances between the nature of the social construction of Chinese immigrants in relation to Japanese immigrants in this era of racially charged policies. By analyzing Washington state newspaper articles from this era, this paper distinguishes between the social constructions of Chinese and Japanese immigrants to challenge the American racial hierarchy as static and monolithic.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2019/Oralpres/7