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date: 15 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay focuses on historical developments regarding Asian Americans and the law, as well as the evolving narrative of that story. The legal history of Asian Americans is a complex tapestry that joins together many different strands of official action. Nevertheless, federal and state court rulings constitute the core of this history. The reason is evident: like other racialized groups denied full access to voting rights, the main avenue of recourse for Asian Americans in their struggle for equality was through the courts. Even as the legal status of Asian Americans has advanced over time, the scholarly literature covering it has mushroomed in dramatic fashion. Many newer works reflect the influence of overall trends in historiography, such as multigroup approaches or the inclusion of issues of gender and sexuality. Legal histories have reframed their subject within larger discussions of transnationalism and U.S. empire.

Keywords: law, civil rights, immigration, sexuality, internment

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