The Seattle Public Library presents one of the nation’s leading immigration and Asian-American historians, Erika Lee, who will deliver a talk titled "A History of American Xenophobia from Japanese-American Incarceration to the 'Muslim Ban'" from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at Seattle First Baptist Church, 1111 Harvard Ave.

Library events are free and open to the public. Tickets and reservations are not required.

As central as immigration is to U.S. history, Lee posits that the U.S. continues to be a nation of xenophobia. Lee argues that our fear and hatred of foreigners has been an American tradition since the colonial era and has continually compromised and even irreparably damaged our values and our democracy. An award-winning historian, Lee traces the evolution of contemporary xenophobia from the World War II incarceration of Japanese-Americans to the current administration's travel ban in this incredibly timely and relevant event. After her lecture, Lee will appear in conversation with Densho’s Tom Ikeda.


Lee teaches American history at the University of Minnesota, where she holds the Rudolph J. Vecoli chair in Immigration History, is director of the Immigration History Research Center, and a Regents Professor. Recently awarded an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, and a frequent commentator in the media, she is the author of three award-winning books in U.S. immigration and Asian-American history: "At America's Gates: Chinese Immigration during the Exclusion Era, 1882-1943," "Angel Island: Immigrant Gateway to America" (co-authored with Judy Yung), and most recently, "The Making of Asian America: A History."


The A. Scott Bullitt Lecture in American History is made possible by a generous gift from the late Priscilla Bullitt Collins in honor of her father, A. Scott Bullitt.

This event is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, media sponsor The Seattle Times and presented in partnership with Densho and The Elliott Bay Book Company.  Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The Library believes that the power of knowledge improves people's lives. We promote literacy and a love of reading as we bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community.