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The United States is known as a nation of immigrants. Paradoxically, it is also a nation of xenophobia, and this irrational fear, hatred, and hostility toward immigrants has been a defining feature of our country from the colonial era to the Trump administration. 

Benjamin Franklin ridiculed Germans for their “strange and foreign ways.” Americans’ anxiety over Irish Catholics turned xenophobia into a national political movement. Chinese immigrants were excluded, Japanese immigrants incarcerated, and Mexican immigrants deported. Today, Americans fear Muslims, Latinos, and the so-called “browning” of America. 

Join us March 4, when award-winning author and historian Dr. Erika Lee helps us to confront this history and explains how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens the United States.  

Erika Lee teaches American history at the University of Minnesota, where she is a Regents Professor, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor, the Rudolph J. Vecoli Chair in Immigration History, and the director of the Immigration History Research Center. The granddaughter of Chinese immigrants, Lee grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attended Tufts University, and received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
One of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian American historians, Lee was recently awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, (also known as the “brainy award”) and named incoming Vice President of the Organization of American Historians.

She is a frequent media commentator and author of several books on US immigration and Asian American history, including At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882–1943 (University of North Carolina Press, 2003); with Judy Yung, Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America (Oxford University Press, 2010); and The Making of Asian America: A History (Simon & Schuster, 2015), which received the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and was a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2015. Lee’s most recent book is America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States (Basic Books, 2019).

Follow Erika Lee on Facebook @proferikalee and Twitter: @prof_erikalee
Follow the Immigration History Research Center on Twitter @UMN_IHRC
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Headliners takes place monthly, October through May (no event in January), at the Continuing Education and Conference Center on the University's Saint Paul campus. Dates for the 2020−21 season are October 1, November 5, December 3, February 4, March 4, April 1, and May 6. Individual event tickets are $20. Subscribe to the series by October 1 and get tickets to all seven events for $90. (A savings of $50!)

Headliners tickets are nonrefundable. If you have questions, please call 612-625-2900.

See complete list of Headliners events.

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