Erika Lee to Deliver Distinguished Annual Lecture on Xenophobia in America
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
On March 11 at 6:00pm, renowned historian and author Erika Lee will deliver the history department’s 2020 Distinguished Annual Lecture. The lecture, titled “Xenophobia in America: How We Got Here and What's At Stake”, will explore the history of nativism in the U.S. from the colonial era to the present day, explaining how xenophobia works, why it has endured, and how it threatens America.
The lecture will draw on her latest book, America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States (Basic Books, 2019), praised as “unflinching and powerful” by Carol Anderson (author of White Rage) and “essential reading for anyone who wants to build a more inclusive society” by Ibram X. Kendi (author of How to be an Antiracist).
“Erika Lee is one of the nation’s leading immigration historians. Her work offers vital insights into the long and enduring histories of racism and xenophobia in the U.S.,” notes Jess Johnson, History Department Community Engagement Director and one of the organizers of the lecture. “For members of the public and our campus community who want to understand the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment today, her research is a game changer. She shows that it is not an aberration, but part of a deep and foundational throughline in U.S. history.”
Jason Moralee, Professor of History, Director of the UMass / Five College Graduate Program in History, and co-organizer of the lecture, adds “this timely event helps us to understand the contradictions at the heart of the American experiment. Lee shows that the U.S. is a country that celebrates itself as a nation of immigrants — at the same time that it is also a nation of xenophobia and racism, and has been from the very start. The UMass History department is dedicated to exploring challenging histories that help us to understand our world today, and we are honored to host Erika Lee for our signature annual event.”
The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Integrative Learning Center in Room N151. Directly following, there will be a book-signing with books available for purchase courtesy of Amherst books.
Additionally, there will be a book discussion of America for Americans at the Jones Library on Tuesday, March 24 at 6 PM. The discussion will be facilitated by a Five College expert on immigration history and is offered in conjunction with the community reading program On the Same Page.
Erika Lee is a Regents Professor of History and Asian American Studies and Director of the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota. Recently awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and named Incoming Vice President of the Organization of American Historians, she is the the award-winning author of four books.
Offered every academic year for more than 20 years, the Distinguished Annual Lecture celebrates the establishment of the UMass/Five College Graduate Program in History and features lectures by the nation’s foremost historians. Additionally, this year’s lecture is co-sponsored by two dozen community groups and Five College programs, including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Asian American Commission, the Pioneer Valley Workers Center, the Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, the Trans Asylum Seeker Support Network, the Pioneer Valley Project, the Five College Asian / Pacific / American Program, the UMass Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success, numerous Western Massachusetts Asian American community groups and various UMass departments.