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UNIT 26: World History and Identity

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VIDEO SEGMENT: The Chinese Diaspora

Individuals and communities cope with the challenges of globalization in a variety of ways. This segment explores one of those ways through a look at the hybrid, transnational identities forged by more than twenty million Chinese migrants who left their homeland after 1850.

These migrants, who went to locations as diverse as Siberia, Peru, Indonesia, and the United States, sought both to adapt to their new homes and to maintain a distinctively Chinese identity. To accomplish these tasks, members of the Chinese diaspora formed support networks based on family, language, and region; taught their children the Chinese language; and — especially in recent years — maintained contacts with one another through communications technologies.

One result of the formation of Chinese diaspora identities is that local differences between Chinese people — which are important markers of identity within China — have become less important among Chinese people outside of China.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Mervyn Silberstein, GRANDFATHER AND INFANT (1910). Courtesy of California Historical Society, FN-32802.

Anonymous, CHINESE FAMILY IN SAN FRANCISCO'S CHINATOWN (1953). Courtesy of AP/ Wide World Photos.


Marjory Collins, CHINESE GROCERY STORE IN CHINATOWN, NEW YORK (1942). Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

Arthur Rothstein, CHINESE LABORER IN POTATO FIELD - WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON (1936). Courtesy of Library of Congress.



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