Through multi-site, multi-media, and multi-language ethnographic and historical research, the author demonstrates that during the twentieth century, as the mainstream definition of Americanness changed from whiteness to assimilation and to ethnic diversity, the meaning of being Chinese evolved. Jinzhao Li demonstrates the shifts that occurred from non-assimilation in the 1910s and Americanization in the 1930s to exoticization in the 1950s-1960s, pan-ethnicization in the 1970s, and localization in the 1990s and 2000s. She focuses on the transformation and self-representation of the Chinese American community through its biggest annual events. Different from many contemporary studies of U.S. ethnic festivals and beauty contests that adopt a white/non-white analytical binary, this book proposes a colonial settler-indigenous triangular model in understanding U.S. racial relations and ethnic self-representation.
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