Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Passage to Promise Land: Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Passage to Promise Land: Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada

Article excerpt

Vivienne Poy, Passage to Promise Land: Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2013), 288 pp. 13 b&w photos. 1 map. 5 tables. Cased. $39.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4149-8.

An extension of her doctoral dissertation, Vivienne Poy's Passage to Promise Land: Voices of Chinese Immigrant Women to Canada utilises her leftover research and provides us with personal narratives alongside historical analysis of Chinese immigrant women in Canada. Educated as an historian, Poy was the first woman of Chinese origin to be appointed a Senator in the Canadian Parliament. Her own immigration from Hong Kong exemplifies the success many Chinese immigrant women have achieved since arriving in Canada to start a new life.

While much research has been done on Canadian women's histor y, the histor y of Chinese immigrant women has been all but ignored. Poy's research into Chinese Canadian immigrant women therefore offers a much-needed glimpse into uncharted territor y. Poy not only gives a voice to these women and their personal narratives as first-generation immigrants, she also calls into question the federal government's strategic use of racist legislation, such as the Chinese Immigration Act (only repealed in 1947) to bar most women of Chinese origin from entering and staying in the country. By using a gendered and feminist lens throughout her book, Poy has pioneered a study into the lives and the social history of a significant portion of Canada's immigrants throughout the twentieth century.

Poy structures her book by interviewing 28 women who came to Canada between 1950 and 1989. …

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