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Other titles in the Asian America series:
Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalsim and Migration Between the United States and South China, 1882-1943 (Asian America)by Madeline Y. Hsu
Synopses & Reviews
This book is a highly original study of transnationalism among immigrants from Taishan, a populous coastal county in south China from which, until 1965, the majority of Chinese in the United States originated. Drawing creatively on Chinese-language sources such as gazetteers, newspapers, and magazines, supplemented by fieldwork and interviews as well as recent scholarship in Chinese social history, the author presents a much richer depiction than we have had heretofore of the continuing ties between Taishanese remaining in China and their kinsmen seeking their fortune in “Gold Mountain.”
Long after the gold in California ran out and prejudice confined them to dismal Chinatowns, generations of Chinese—mostly men from rural areas of southern China—continued to migrate to the United States in hopes of bettering the familys lot by remitting much of the meager sums they earned as laundrymen, cooks, domestic workers, and Chinatown merchants.
Economic hardships and U.S. Exclusion laws extended the immigrants separation from their families for decades, “sojourns” that in many cases ended only in death. Men lived as bachelors and their wives as widows, parents passed away, and children grew up without ever seeing their fathers faces. Families and village communities had to adapt to survive the stress of long-term, long-distance separation from their primary wage-earners.
At the same time, men raised in the rural communities of a faltering imperial China had to negotiate encounters with an industrializing, Western-dominated, often hostile world. This history explores the resiliency and flexibility of rural Chinese, qualities that enabled them to preserve their families by living apart from them and to survive the intertwining of their rural world with global systems of race, labor, and capital. The author demonstrates that through migration to dank and narrow enclaves, they came to live, and even to flourish, in a transnational community that persisted despite decades of separation and an oceans width of distance.
Book News Annotation:
Drawing on Chinese-language sources, fieldwork, and interviews as well as published scholarship on Chinese social history, Hsu (Asian-American studies, San Francisco State U.) looks at the transnationalism among immigrants from Taisha, a populous coastal county in south China from which most Chinese in the US came before 1965. She finds deep and continuing ties between Taishanese remaining in China and their kinsmen seeking their fortune in Gold Mountain.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This book is a highly original study of transnationalism among immigrants from the county of Taishan, from which, until 1965, a high percentage of the Chinese in the United States originated. The author vividly depicts the continuing ties between Taishanese remaining in China and their kinsmen seeking their fortune in "Gold Mountain."
This book is a study of the immigration to the United States of Chinese from Taishan, a coastal county in southern China, from which until 1965 over half the Chinese in America originated. This immigration provides a revealing picture of how individuals raised in rural communities of a fading imperial China interacted with an industrializing, Western-dominated world. Chinese were among the fortune seekers from around the world who hoped to find gold in California in the mid-nineteenth century. Long after the gold ran out and prejudice confined them to dank and narrow Chinatown enclaves, the immigrants' earnings as laundry men, cooks, domestic workers, and Chinatown merchants enabled them to advance their families up the social ladder. Such successes, however, demanded considerable sacrifice, and village communities had to adapt in order to survive the duress of long-term, long-distance separations from primary wage-earners.
How immigrants from southern China to California integrated socially and economically, and how communities in China coped with long-term separation.
About the Author
Madeline Y. Hsu is Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.
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History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » General