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date: 13 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines theoretical influences for the sizable professional scholarship on the history of Asians in the United States. The essay traces these influences through three historical periods: “exclusion era, 1907–1941,” “civil rights era, 1942–1988,” and the recent period from 1989 to the present. The argument maintains that social science theories matter for the writing on history, but that they are also products of history and thus need to be understood within specific historical circumstances. The narrative follows a general course from relative theoretical uniformity to increasing diversity as the story begins to move to the recent past.

Keywords: theory, assimilation, cultural pluralism, transnationalism, interracialism, linguistic turn, racial formation, Orientalism

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