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Becoming Chinese American

A History of Communities and Institutions

Him Mark Lai - Foreword by Madeline Hsu - Contributions by Him Mark Lai (Chinese Historical Society and San Francisco)

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Becoming Chinese American discusses the historical and cultural development of Chinese American life in the past century. Representing a singular breadth of knowledge about the Chinese American past, the volume begins with an historical overview of Chinese migration to the United States, followed by critical discussion of the development of key community institutions, Chinese-language schools, newspapers, and politics in early Chinese American life. Rather than emphasize experiences of discrimination, the collection focuses on Chinese American community formation that tested the racially-imposed boundaries on their new lives in the United States. Written by noted Chinese American scholar Him Mark Lai, the essays in this volume will be of interest to scholars of Asian and Asian American studies, as well as American history, ethnicity, and immigration. « less more »
AltaMira Press
Pages: 418Size: 6 3/4 x 9
978-0-7591-0457-0 • Hardback • June 2004 • $107.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-7591-0458-7 • Paperback • May 2004 • $46.00 • (£31.95)
978-0-7591-1554-5 • eBook • June 2004 • $45.99 • (£31.95)
Him Mark Lai has researched Chinese American history, has written key articles and books, and in 1969 co-taught the first college level course in America on Chinese American history. Very active in community cultural activities, he produced a weekly hour-long community-based Cantonese language radio program from 1971 to 1984. In 1991 he became a coordinator of the Chinese Culture Foundation's 'In Search of Roots' program, which organizes Chinese American youths to research their family histories and to visit their ancestral villages. Featured in the January 14, 2000 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education as 'the scholar who legitimized the study of Chinese America,' Mr. Lai collected everything about Chinese American history that he could, which has resulted in one of the richest and most extensive personal collections of its kind. Madeline Hsu teaches at San Francisco State University.
Part 1 Foreword
2 Chapter 1: The History of the Guangdong
3 Chapter 2: Angel Island Immigration Station
4 Chapter 3: The Confession Program
5 Chapter 4: Development of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
6 Chapter 5: A History of the Sam Yup Community
7 Chapter 6: Chinese Regional Solidarity: The Hua Xian (Fa Yuen) Community
8 Chapter 7: The Development of Chinese Organizations
9 Chapter 8: Chinese Schools in the United States
10 Chapter 9: The Chinese Community Press in North American
11 Chapter 10: A Voice of Reason: Life and Times of Gilbert Woo
12 Chapter 11: Chinese American Political Dimension
13 Chapter 12: The Chinese Left
14 For Further Reading
15 Index
16 About the Author
Based on 35-years of meticulous research through Chinese language sources, archives, and oral histories, this definitive collection of essays by Him Mark Lai—the foremost authority on Chinese American history—is a must read for scholars and students interested in the Guangdong heritage, immigration patterns, community development, and cultural retention of Chinese Americans from the Gold Rush to present day.
Judy Yung, Professor of American Studies, University of California-Santa Cruz, and author of Unbound Feet: A Social History of Chinese Wome


Meticulous research, careful interpretation, and unrivaled comprehension of the complexities of the Chinese American past: these are the features of Him Mark Lai's work. This essay collection well displays his singular intellectual contribution.
Gordon H. Chang, Professor in the Department of History, Stanford University


Years of meticulous research and judicious selection of key issues are masterfully captured by Professor Lai in this definitive and indispensable history of Chinese life in America. Becoming Chinese American affirms his status as the 'Dean of Chinese American Studies.'
Peter Kwong, City University of New York


Here we have a lifetime of scholarship by the dean of Chinese American history. Him Mark Lai densely details how the Chinese settled America through their businesses, associations, and schools.
Ronald Takaki, Author, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans


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