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The Children of Chinatown
Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco 1850-1920
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The Children of Chinatown
Growing Up Chinese American in San Francisco 1850-1920

By Wendy Rouse Jorae
2009, 295 pages, Paperback.

Book Description from Back Cover
Comments from Back Cover
About the Author

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Book Description from Back Cover

Revealing the untold stories of a pioneer generation of young Chinese Americans, this book places the children and families of early Chinatown in the middle of efforts to combat American policies of exclusion and segregation.

Wendy Jorae challenges long-held notions of early Chinatown as a bachelor community by showing that families-and particularly children- played important roles in its daily life. She explores the wide-ranging images of Chinatown's youth created by competing interests with their own agendas-from anti-immigrant depictions of Chinese children as filthy and culturally inferior to exotic and Orientalized images that catered to the tourist's ideal of Chinatown. All of these representations, Jorae notes, tended to further isolate Chinatown at a time when American-born Chinese children were attempting to define themselves as Chinese American. Facing barriers of immigration exclusion, cultural dislocation, child labor, segregated schooling, crime, and violence, Chinese American children attempted to build a world for themselves on the margins of two cultures. Their story is part of the larger American story of the struggle to overcome racism and realize the ideal of equality.

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Comments from Back Cover

"Jorae's efforts to reconstruct children's lived experiences in multiple arenas add an impor­tant dimension to the study of the Chinese in San Francisco."
-Colleen Fong, California State University, East Bay

"Jorae breaks new ground in Chinese American history with her sustained analysis of children and family life among Chinese immigrants during the exclusion period. Addressing four overlapping parties who each had a stake in using the children of Chinatown for their own agenda, she constructs her analysis with sophistication and solid evidence."
-K. Scott Wong, Williams College

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Background on Wendy Rouse Jorae

Wendy Rouse Jorae teaches history at St. Francis College Preparatory School in Sacramento, at the University of California, Davis, and at California State University-Sacramento.

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