Two Faces of Exclusion

The Untold History of Anti-Asian Racism in the United States

By Lon Kurashige

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 20 halftones, 6 maps, 8 tables, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-5913-8
    Published: February 2020
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2943-8
    Published: September 2016
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-2944-5
    Published: September 2016
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-4824-6
    Published: September 2016

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From the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Immigration Act of 1924 to Japanese American internment during World War II, the United States has a long history of anti-Asian policies. But Lon Kurashige demonstrates that despite widespread racism, Asian exclusion was not the product of an ongoing national consensus; it was a subject of fierce debate. This book complicates the exclusion story by examining the organized and well-funded opposition to discrimination that involved some of the most powerful public figures in American politics, business, religion, and academia. In recovering this opposition, Kurashige explains the rise and fall of exclusionist policies through an unstable and protracted political rivalry that began in the 1850s with the coming of Asian immigrants, extended to the age of exclusion from the 1880s until the 1960s, and since then has shaped the memory of past discrimination.

In this first book-length analysis of both sides of the debate, Kurashige argues that exclusion-era policies were more than just enactments of racism; they were also catalysts for U.S.-Asian cooperation and the basis for the twenty-first century’s tightly integrated Pacific world.

About the Author

Lon Kurashige is professor of history at the University of Southern California.
For more information about Lon Kurashige, visit the Author Page.


“A thoughtful history of anti-Asian racism in the U.S., tracing the sad narrative of Asian exclusionism that led to the eventual denial of immigration and naturalization rights to Asian immigrants until the 1940’s and 1950’s.”--Choice

“[An] excellent history of anti-Asian racism in the United States. . . . Essential reading for all who are interested in the history of the American exclusionist impulse and its deep connection to ongoing political debates.”--H-Net

“Offers new research and fresh interpretation of the anti-exclusion forces.”--Reviews in American History

“Kurashige’s version of Asian exclusion challenges readers to historically contextualize anti-Asian laws by engaging in universal empathy as a methodology for fully understanding both sides of anti-Asian exclusion debates.”--Southern California Quarterly

“What a book! With Two Faces of Exclusion, Lon Kurashige establishes himself as a major interpreter of American history, one to whose writing scholars, policymakers, and the thoughtful public will have to attend."--Paul Spickard, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Lon Kurashige offers a valuable new contribution to the history of Asian exclusion in the United States by revisiting the heated debates that occurred prior to the passage of the exclusion laws. Two Faces of Exclusion allows us to better understand the complicated political history of this important era and the complicated politics of immigration in general."--Erika Lee, author of The Making of Asian America: A History