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Death is a topic that has fascinated people for centuries. In the English-speaking world, eulogies in poetic form could be traced back to the 1640s, but gained prominence with the "graveyard school" of poets in the eighteenth century often stressing the finality of death. Chinese American Death Rituals examines Chinese American funerary rituals and cemeteries from the late nineteenth century until the present in order to understand the importance of Chinese funerary rites and their transformation through time. The authors in this volume discuss the meaning of funerary rituals and their normative dimension and the social practices that have been influenced by tradition. Shaped by individual beliefs, customs, religion, and environment, Chinese Americans have resolved the tensions between assimilation into the mainstream culture and their strong Chinese heritage in a variety of ways. This volume expertly describes and analyzes Chinese American cultural retention and transformation in rituals after death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780759107335
Publisher: AltaMira Press
Publication date: 09/15/2005
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 6.06(w) x 9.24(h) x 0.99(d)

About the Author

Sue Fawn Chung is an associate professor of history at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a member of the NTHP's Diversity Council, and an advisor to Preserve Nevada, the statewide preservation organization. She serves on the Board of Museums and History for the state of Nevada. Her fields of specialization are late Qing history and Chinese American history. She has published numerous studies on Chinese Americans. Priscilla Wegars is the founder and volunteer curator of the University of Idaho's Asian American Comparative Collection, a repository of artifacts and documentary materials essential for the study of Asian American archaeological sites, economic contributions, and cultural history. She edited Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese (1993) and wrote Polly Bemis: A Chinese American Pioneer (2003) and "Polly Bemis: Lurid Life or Literary Legend?" in Wild Women of the Old West, edited by Glenda Riley and Richard W. Etulain (2003).

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter One: "What WE Didn't Understand": A History of Chinese Death Ritual in China and California Chapter 3 Chapter Two: On Dying American: Cantonese Rites for Death and Ghost-Spirits in an American City Chapter 4 Chapter Three: Archaeological Excavations at Virginiatown's Chinese Cemeteries Chapter 5 Chapter Four: Venerate These Bones: Chinese American Funerary and Burial Practices as Seen in Carlin, Elko County, Nevada Chapter 6 Chapter Five: Respecting the Dead: Chinese Cemeteries and Burial Practices in the Interior Pacific Northwest Chapter 7 Chapter Six: Remembering Ancestors in Hawai'i Chapter 8 Chapter Seven: The Chinese Mortuary Tradition in San Francisco Chinatown Chapter 9 Chapter Eight: Old Rituals in New Lands: Bringing the Ancestors to America
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