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Contemporary observers charged the Chinese with a refusal to assimilate to American ways, and many scholars have stressed how the Chinese have adamantly preserved their culture in the United States. Many Chinese values, practices, and patterns of social organization were indeed transferred to American soil, but the fact remains that Chinese communities that developed in America were by no means replicas of those in China.The second is from a huaqiao history published in Taiwan in 1993 by Huang Jianchun:
By and large, the social organization and customs of overseas Chinese . . . were all carried abroad from rural life in China. In the long term, the transference and preservation of Chinese culture abroad led to mutual development and an unbreakable bond between overseas Chinese society and the Chinese homeland. Much evidence shows the difficulty of severing the Chinese soul within those living abroad. Precisely because of this, the great majority of overseas Chinese had a great concern for the security of their country. This sentiment did not depend on the existence of the Qing or Republican governments, but mostly emerged from the natural disposition to cherish one's home.Each of these statements is taken from an exemplary work of primary research. While not entirely exclusive--potential for overlap appears in the ideas of "mutual development" and "transfer" of culture-- they each emerge from very different research agendas that result in competing narratives of the history of Chinese migration. Chan's work is part of a larger project in contemporary Asian American studies to incorporate Chinese as important actors in American history. It emphasizes the adaptations of Chinese social organization in the United States, and explains them as necessary and unprecedented responses to unfamiliar challenges. Although Chan pays more attention than many Asian American historians to Chinese nationalism, transnational families, and continued links to China, she does not follow the implications of these descriptions so far as to reformulate her narrative of migration as a mono-directional relocation followed by locally conditioned transformation. In their most strongly America-centered versions, Asian American histories have treated continued links beyond America and the persistence of Chinese culture abroad as little more than by-products of exclusion and racism, and have seen Chinese Americans primarily as exemplars of long-standing American ideals of freedom, democratic principles, and individual struggle.
Excerpted from Chinese Migrant Networks and Cultural Change: Peru, Chicago, Hawaii, 1900-1936 by Adam McKeown Copyright © 2001 by Adam McKeown. Excerpted by permission.
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1. Chinese Migration in Global Perspective
2. Immigration Laws, Economic Activities, and the Limitations of Local Contexts
3. Chinese Diasporas
4. Men, Ghosts, and Social Organization in South China
5. Becoming Foreigners in Peru
6. Exotica and Respectability in Chicago's Chinatown
7. The Auspicious Legacy of the Ancestors in Hawaii
8. Chinese Migration and the Early-Twentieth-Century World Order
Chinese Character Glossary
List of Abbreviations