The scope, significance, and depth of thinking on the law is difficult to overstate. Ancient religious traditions, the oldest forms of commerce and contract, the earliest recorded forms of government—all embrace notions of law. In modern society, legal thinking can be seen in virtually every aspect of our lives. Within Asian American studies, there is widespread acceptance and use of legal documents and legal categories. Yet little attention has been paid to studying as well as using these pervasive elements embedded in so many aspects of our discipline.

To begin such a study, three themes in modern jurisprudence are helpful to sort the ways that law is used and understood in Asian American studies. First we observe that government power in the form, for example, of federal laws on immigration, exclusion, and citizenship, and state laws on access to courts and land ownership, have directly affected and shaped Asian American …

This essay may be found on page 144 of the printed volume.

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