Andrea Geiger

Professor Emerita



I grew up around the world, attending school in places as distant from one another as Amsterdam, Pennsylvania, Hiroshima, and Bangaluru. After graduating from the University of Washington School of Law in 1991, I clerked for several years for judges at the Washington Court of Appeals and the Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington, and served as a Reservation Attorney for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington. My interest in exploring ways in which law was historically used to create and maintain racial boundaries led me to return to school to study history at the graduate level at the University of Washington, where I completed a Ph.D. in history in 2006. I joined the History Department at SFU in 2005 and retired in 2022 to focus on my research and writing. I remain active as a writer and an historian and continue to draw on my background in both law and history in the work that I do.

Research Interests

Transpacific and borderlands history, race, migration, legal history.


Edited Volumes

Guest Editor, Special Issue on Nikkei History, BC Studies, no. 192 (Winter 2016/17)


  • “The Courtroom as Legal Borderland: Encounters between Western and Indigenous Legal Tradition in the Courts of the Alaska District,” in Katrina Jagodinsky and Pablo Mitchell, eds., Beyond the Borders of the Law: Critical Legal Histories of the North American West (University Press of Kansas, 2018): 231 - 262.
  • “Disentangling Law and History: Nikkei Challenges to Race-Based Exclusion from B.C.’s Coastal Fisheries, 1920-2007,” Southern California Quarterly 100:3 (Fall 2018).
  •  “Haida Gwaii as North Pacific Borderland, Ikeda Mine as Alternative West: 1906-1910,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 108:4 (Fall 2017). Co-recipient of the 2019 Charles Gates Memorial Award for the best article published in Pacific Northwest Quarterly during the previous year.
  •  “Reframing Nikkei Histories: Complicating Existing Narratives,” Introduction, BC Studies no. 102, Special Issue on Nikkei History in British Columbia), Winter/Spring 2016/2017.
  • “Negotiating the Boundaries of Race, Caste and Mibun: Meiji-era Diplomatic and Immigrant Responses to North American Categories of Exclusion,” in Gary Okihiro and Yasuko Takezawa, eds., Japanese Americans: Racialization and Resistance, University of Hawai’i Press (2016): 133 - 158.
  • “Reframing Race and Place: Locating Japanese Immigrants in Relation to Indigenous Peoples in the North American West, 1900-1940,” Southern California Quarterly, 96:3 (2014):  253-270.
  • Introduction, Subverting Exclusion: Transpacific Encounters with Race, Caste, and Borders, 1885-1928, republished by request in Journal of Transnational American Studies 3.2 (2011).
  • “‘Crossed by the Border’: the International Boundary and Canada’s Termination of the Arrow Lakes Band, 1890-1956,” Journal of Western Legal History 23:2 (2010): 121 - 153..
  • “Caught in the Gap: the Transit Privilege and North America’s Ambiguous Borders,” in Benjamin Johnson and Andrew Graybill, eds., Bridging National Borders in North America: Transnational and Comparative Histories (Duke University Press, 2010): 199-222. 
  • “Negotiating the Boundaries of Race and Class: Meiji Diplomatic Responses to North American Categories of Exclusion,” B.C. Studies 156/157 (Winter/Spring 2007/2008): 37-51.
  • “Writing Racial Barriers into Law: Upholding B.C.’s Denial of the Vote to Its Japanese Canadian Citizens, Homma v. Cunningham, 1902,” in Gail Nomura and Louis Fiset, eds., Nikkei in the Pacific Northwest: Japanese Americans and Japanese Canadians in the Twentieth Century (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005): 20-43.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

North American West, Japanese immigration, Nikkei history, Aboriginal law & history.

Grants & Awards

  • SSHRC Insight Grant, 2014-2018: “Alternate Spheres of Encounter: Contact Relations between Japanese Immigrants and Aboriginal People in the North American West, 1885-1945.”
  • Association for Asian American Studies, History Book Award, 2013 (for books published in 2011).
  • Theodore Saloutos Book Award of the Immigration and Ethnic History Society, 2011.
  • Institute for Pacific Northwest Studies Dissertation Prize, 2007.
  • SFU, President's Research Grant, 2006.
  • Rondeau Laverne Evans Dissertation Fellowship, 2004.
  • Visiting Scholar, Stanford University, Department of History, Summer 2003.
  • University of Washington Graduate School Humanities Dissertation Fellowship, 2003.
  • USDEd., Foreign Language & Area Studies Fellowships, 1999, 2000, 2001.
  • Editor-in-Chief, Washington Law Review, Volume 66, 1990-91.