Students Examine 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act in New History Class

Upper School students in the new research methods in American social movements history class examined a major 19th century event through creative projects, interactions with notable authors and thought-provoking discussion.

The semester course, taught by Upper School history teacher Diane Adamson and Upper School Library teacher Stacey von Winckelmann, explores the impact of American colonialism, racism and social injustice and studies how social movements have forced political and social change in American history. In addition, the course provides students with the opportunity to engage more fully in the academic research process.

The course’s first unit examined the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, studying the actions that led to the momentous legislation and the subsequent impact.

As part of the unit, students did a virtual tour of Angel Island, a U.S. immigration site where many Chinese immigrants were detained, and also had a video-conference discussion with author Lisa See. Ms. See wrote On Gold Mountain, a memoir of her family’s history in both China and the United States around the same time period.

The class also put together creative projects that expressed the impact of the legislation on targeted populations. Projects included digital and 3D art and essays.

Subsequent units will explore the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, the Chicano Movement, the Native American Movement, the Women’s Movement and the LGBTQ Movement in American history.
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