Elizabeth Lew-Williams F'12, F'10

Elizabeth  Lew-Williams
Associate Professor
Princeton University

ACLS New Faculty Fellows Program 2012
New Faculty Fellow
History and Asian American Studies
Northwestern University
PhD, History, Stanford University appointed in History and Asian American Studies at Northwestern University

Dissertation: "The Chinese Must Go: Immigration, Deportation and Violence in the 19th-Century Pacific Northwest"

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2010
Doctoral Candidate
Stanford University
The Chinese Must Go: Immigration, Deportation, and Violence in the American West, 1882-1892

This dissertation investigates America’s first major attempt to control the movement of people across its borders. In 1882, the Chinese Restriction Act barred Chinese laborers from immigrating to the US, but implementing this policy proved impossible. When the federal government failed to stop illegal immigration across the US-Canada border, white locals reacted violently, systematically expelling their Chinese neighbors. This project traces this story of exclusion and expulsion: how immigration policy instigated racial violence and how racial violence transformed immigration policy. It argues that Chinese Exclusion was not a top-down policy; rather, it was a tortured process, in which federal failures became local problems and local crises had national and international ramifications.