Born in Stockton in 1942 and raised in Richmond, California, Jeffery Paul Chan is a third-generation American of Chinese ancestry. A grandson of a Nevada railroad worker and a son of a successful dentist, young Jeffery was weary of doing what his elders expected him to do, once claiming that “In a way I was tired of being Chinese…. I was tired of following the crowd, because all the Chinese students I knew were pursuing such scientific, technological careers as medicine and engineering” (Hsu and Palubinskas 76). Changing his undergraduate major at the University of California at Berkeley, Chan disappointed his father when he quit his study at the prestigious university and went to Spain's University of Barcelona where he tutored in English and studied Spanish culture. Earning his bachelor's degree in English, he continued his graduate study in creative writing at San Francisco. Later he also studied folklore at the University of California because folklore to him serves as access to “know more about different people” by “opening up many doors to the different cultures” (Hsu and Palubinskas 77). His strong interests in literature as well as various cultures were rooted in his desire to know more about his own ethnic heritage, one that his totally Americanized father was never willing to share.
Chan is currently a professor in the Department of Asian American Studies and English at San Francisco State University. The founding director of the Combined Asian-American Resources Project, Inc., as well as the founding member and former chairperson of the Asian American Studies Department at San Francisco State University, Chan has long championed the inclusion of Asian American literature in the study of American literature. In addition, he