Assignment 2: Exploring the Chinese Site

"The initial group of Chinese argonauts sought their livelihood in the gold mines,
calling California Gam Saan or Gold Mountain

Today’s assignment involves direct exploration of the American Memory Library of Congress site The Chinese in California: 1850-1925.

  • Click around the site for a few minutes to orient yourself.
  • Linger on the “Timeline” for a contextual overview of dates and events relating to our topic. 
  • Read all the essays (they are only a few paragraphs long) and browse the galleries in the “Topical Overview: Essays and Galleries” section to help orient yourself to the history of the early Chinese in America and to the issues surrounding Chinese immigration.   
  • Go to the Theme Index (click on Search by Theme from the main page) and explore texts and images from the numbered lists that interest you in any section of your choice except "Anti-Chinese Movement and Chinese Exclusion" and "Sentiments Concerning the Chinese: Illustrations from Periodicals" (these will be the focus of following assignments).
  • After exploring a reasonably large range of texts and images, select three (preferably from different media: for example, photos, pamphlets, documents, drawings, advertisements, letters, etc.) as the subjects for your blog in the “Exploring the Essays/ Galleries” section of the discussion board.  
  • In your blog, consider answering such possible questions about your explorations as 
    • What texts and images did you find?  
    • What ones really interested you, and why?
    • What did you learn about the Chinese in California?
    • What ideas do you think are being represented in the texts /images that you've chosen?
    • What are the positive /negative/ambivalent notions about the Chinese represented in the texts /images?
    • How do the different media contrast /compare in their messages or representations?
  • In your blog as well, please identify the specific locations of the selected items by theme and item number or by direct link so that others may easily view them.
  • Read other blogs as time permits, but reply thoughtfully to the blog of at least one other person (if at all possible, reply to a person you haven't replied to before and who hasn't received a reply).
  • Consider an addendum to your blog as a result of reading others.

"To this day, Chinatown remains one of the treasures of San Francisco."