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Cullman Center Institute for Teachers: The Invention of Chinese America


MAE NGAI, Instructor

Based on The Lucky Ones, Ngai’s 2010 biography of three generations of a Chinese American family, this seminar will consider what it was like to live in California during the racially volatile period after the gold rush and under the legal regime of Chinese Exclusion from the 1880s to World War II. In the afternoon, teachers will discuss how they might incorporate this material into their classrooms.

Mae Ngai is Professor of History and Asian American Studies at Columbia University. She is the author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America, and The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America. At the Cullman Center, she is working on a book about the gold rushes in Pacific settler-colonies, focusing on Anglo-American racial politics and the circulations of Chinese miners.