Chinese Americans

The History and Culture of a People

by Jonathan H. X. Lee, Editor


The Canadian government once required an exorbitant entry fee from Chinese immigrants.

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Cover image for Chinese Americans

November 2015


Pages 498
Volumes 1
Size 7x10
Topics American History/Race and Ethnicity

This in-depth historical analysis highlights the enormous contributions of Chinese Americans to the professions, politics, and popular culture of America, from the 19th century through the present day.

While the number of Chinese Americans has grown very rapidly in the last decade, this group has long thrived in the United States in spite of racism, discrimination, and segregation. This comprehensive volume takes a global view of the Chinese experience in the Americas. While the focus is on Chinese Americans in the United States, author Jonathan H. X. Lee also explores the experiences of Chinese immigrants in Canada, Mexico, and South America. He considers why the Chinese chose to leave their home country, where they settled, and how the distinctive Chinese American identity was formed.

This volume is organized into four sections: historical overview; political and economic life; cultural and religious life; and literature, the arts, and popular culture. Detailed essays capture the essence of everyday life for this immigrant group as they assimilated, established communities, and interacted with other ethnic groups. Alphabetically arranged entries describe the political, social, and religious institutions begun by Chinese Americans and explores their roles as business owners, activists, and philanthropic benefactors for their communities.


  • Highlights the distinctive roles that Chinese Americans have added to the fabric of American life
  • Illustrates the experience of Chinese Americans with discrimination, resistance, and assimilation
  • Considers the émigrés of the Sinophone diaspora with entries on Cambodian-Chinese and Vietnamese-Chinese Americans
  • Offers a selection of fascinating primary documents that enrich the reader's experience
  • Reveals the problems that Chinese American women faced with the passage of the 1882 Exclusion Act
Author Info

Jonathan H. X. Lee is associate professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University. His published works include ABC-CLIO's Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife; History of Asian Americans: Exploring Diverse Roots; and Asian American Religious Cultures.



"[T]he work will be valued for its specific focus on Chinese Americans as opposed to Asian Americans in general. . . . Summing Up: Recommended. Beginning students, general readers."Choice

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