Wednesday, June 19, 2019 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
This talk proposes to study the debates concerning Chinese workers in the U.S. that led up to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 in the context of Reconstruction and the contest over the meaning of slavery and free labor after the Civil War. It examines cultural and literary representations of Chinese workers in the mid to late nineteenth century that employed the most popular and influential form of representing race during and after slavery: blackface minstrelsy. By showing how the representations of Chinese workers perpetuated the racial logic of slavery, the talk expands ways of thinking about Reconstruction and creates a space to consider a different way of knowing about race, slavery, and freedom today. Speaker: Caroline H. Yang.