Introduction

Chinese America: History and Perspectives, Annual 2006 | Go to article overview
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Introduction


The six essays included in the 2006 issue of Chinese America: History and Perspectives reflect the diversity in the Chinese American community. The first two essays, by Katharine Ng and John C. Chen, respectively, examine the experiences of two families that exemplify some issues faced by the Chinese American professional class as they were becoming part of mainstream America during the mid-twentieth century. Ng's "Fitting in Space: Rose Hum Lee's Negotiation of Assimilation and Citizenship in America" examines the career of American-born sociologist Rose Hum Lee, one of the earliest Chinese Americans to be prominent in the social sciences in the United States and best known for her pioneering study, The Chinese in the United States of America (Hong Kong University Press, 1960). Ng suggests how Lee's personal experiences may have been factors influencing the development of certain basic concepts in her research on the Chinese American community. Cheng "Getting Out, Left Behind: The Life of a Stranded Chinese Scholar and Her Daughter," is a companion piece to "Stranded Scholar from China, the Life of Calvin H. Chen, MD," published in Chinese America: History and Perspectives 2004. The two pieces together illustrate graphically the far-reaching impact of political events on both sides of the Pacific on the lives of two Chinese immigrant professionals and their offspring.

The next two essays dwell on aspects of the economic activities of Chinese immigrants. Barry McGowan, "Ring-barkers and Market Gardeners: A Comparison of the Rural Chinese of New South Wales and California," discusses the experiences of Chinese in rural Australia during the nineteenth century and makes some comparisons with the Chinese role in similar circumstances in rural California.

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