Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canada's Exclusion Era, 1885-1945 (Paperback)
  • Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canada's Exclusion Era, 1885-1945 (Paperback)
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Brokering Belonging: Chinese in Canada's Exclusion Era, 1885-1945 (Paperback)

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£23.99
Paperback 240 Pages / Published: 09/12/2010
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Brokering Belonging traces several generations of Chinese "brokers, " ethnic leaders who acted as intermediaries between the Chinese and Anglo worlds of Canada. At the time, most Chinese could not vote and many were illegal immigrants, so brokers played informal but necessary roles as representatives to the larger society. Brokers' work reveals the changing boundaries between Chinese and Anglo worlds, and how tensions among Chinese shaped them. By reinserting Chinese back into mainstream politics, Brokering Belonging alters common understandings of how legally "alien" groups' helped create modern immigrant nations. Over several generations, brokers deeply embedded Chinese immigrants in the larger Canadian, U.S. and Chinese politics of their time. On the 19th century Western frontier, bilingual Chinese businessmen competed with each other to represent their community. By the early 1920s, a new generation of brokers based in social movements challenged traditional brokers, shifting the power dynamic within the Chinese community. During the Second World War, social movement protests helped reconfigure brokerage relations. By 1947, Chinese had won voting rights in British Columbia and repeal of Canada's Chinese exclusion act. The history of brokers' work adds new transnational dimensions to many central topics in Canadian, U.S., and Chinese Diaspora history: immigration policy-making, party machines, law, migration, unions, civil rights movements, and the founding of immigration studies. Indeed, Chinese brokers' dealings with researchers from the Chicago School of Sociology had an enduring impact on immigrant scholarship, including beliefs that Asians were a diligent, patient "model minority." Based on new Chinese language evidence, this book recounts history from the "middle,' a view that is neither bottom up nor top down. Through brokerage, Chinese wielded considerable influence, navigating a period of anti-Asian sentiment and exclusion throughout society. Consequently, Chinese immigrants became significant players in race relations, influencing policies that affected all Canadians and Americans.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199733149
Number of pages: 240
Weight: 338 g
Dimensions: 234 x 161 x 16 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Highly innovative .This study of politics from the middle will shape the way political, immigration, and ethnic historians view power politics. * American Historical Review *
Lisa Mar has written a history from neither above nor below, but from the middle. Her account of Chinese Canadian immigrant brokers during the exclusion era shows an active world of politics taking place 'off stage,' in patronage deals made in the back rooms of political parties, law offices, and in the Chinese-language press. This is a fascinating study that changes the way we think about Chinese immigrant communities and the ways in which power operates. * Mae M. Ngai, Columbia University *
Lisa Mar's work uncovers the complex political and social life in Vancouver's Chinese community to a depth that goes beyond earlier scholarship. Mar's ability to follow the lives of the 'brokers' who could operate both in Chinese and English language worlds-tracing their ability to translate and represent each side to the other and to take advantage of their advantageous position as go-betweens-gives us insights into the complicated world of political deal-making and betrayal that almost no other scholar has been able to achieve. * Henry Yu, author of Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America *
Brokering Belonging reinscribes general scholarship concerning ethnicity and immigration with the adventures of politically adroit, transnational yet highly acculturated Chinese Canadian 'brokers' who successfully strategized for greater access and rights on behalf of an otherwise legally and ideologically marginal minority population. Despite the inherent contradictions between their roles as advocates, interpreters, and influence peddlers, Mar persuasively argues that brokers made it possible for even small immigrant groups to sink roots into hostile soil. * Madeline Y. Hsu, University of Texas at Austin *
Short but riveting...A work that is vast in its implications...By using transnational lives and experiences to inform our understanding of the Chinese experience in Canada, Mar offers a convincing portrait of how transnationalism and national experiences intersect and effectively broadens the scope of the national lens. * H-Net Reviews *

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