The final project records the contributions and tribulations of the Chinese in America from 1850s to now. Their hardworking experience and their struggle for equal rights have been integral part of the American legacy. It is a path of success, tears, struggle and pride. Through this project, I try to make my argument to the audience that as an immigrant group, the Chinese did not only contributed to this country like other immigrant groups but also managed to thrive against the widespread racism upon Asians in America, culminating in the passage of Chinese Exclusion Act. My project uses the historical resources to show the duplicity of Chinese immigrant experience—struggle as new comers and as legally discriminated ethnic group—and the complexity of the immigrant experience which includes both good and bad stories.
In my preliminary research before doing this project, I did not find an online project that covers the various sides of the Chinese experience in America and the immigrants from the first batch of Chinese to current ones. The online sources usually focus on Chinese Exclusion Act, the content and some government documents. There is not such a website that collects individual things such as birth certificate, residence certificate and marriage certificate of Chinese immigrants in Chinese exclusion period that can show Chinese immigration history from a micro-perspective and what the Chinese Americans think about their experience in America after 1965 when the immigration quota on ethnic groups was removed. As my project expands from the initial contact of China and America (Old China Trade) to 1990s, it is a good opportunity for me to collect the historical resources scattered in many places and combine them into my website. There are government papers and individual diaries. There are Chinese Exclusion Files that record the Chinese immigrants one hundred years ago and there are documentaries on the current Chinese Americans talking about their life experience in America. So, for academic purpose, my project is an ambitious trial that investigates and demonstrates the Chinese immigrants’ experience from 1850s to the present, from first immigrants to current Chinese Americans and the primary sources such as pictures and letters that are scattered in many other places. It is an extension and expansion of my dissertation on Yamei Kin, the first Chinese woman who obtained a college degree. She graduated from Women’s Medical College of New York Infirmary in 1885.
For practical purposes, my project aims to disseminate knowledge about Chinese immigrants in America to the general public. So, it is a public history project. The projects tries to be an online museum that covers multiple sides of Chinese immigration history. The language is easy to understand and the visuals can spark visitors’ interest in further exploring the website. The project will help the community to better understand the Chinese immigrants who are part of American history and break some stereotypes, both good and bad, about the Chinese immigrants. By making such a complex project on Chinese immigrants, I hope the general public would gain new understanding of both the Chinese and the United States.
There are a few ways to evaluate my work.
- reading test. The target audience is the general public. So, I hope to make simple reading tests to learn if my language on the website is ok.
- The frequency of visit to the website. I need to figure out a way to track the visiting to the website.
- Comments on social media. I will promote once a week one thing in my website to attach and keep public attention such as an immigrant’s story or a picture of Chinese marriage certificate in the U.S. The comments on the website and on these individual items will reflect what the public think of the project.
- An online discussion forum. Ideally I hope to have such a forum on my webpage but it is not doable under current circumstances. I see this forum as an important place for idea exchange and comments, both positive and negative. I look forward to the negative comments because they usually show where I can improve. Social platforms can do so but many people, especially who know me personally, might hold their negative thought back. If I can’t have such a forum on the webpage, I will try to create a post regularly on the social media platform to collect comments.
- Questionnaires. It takes time to promote it on social media and get feedback so I’m thinking about asking the people around me for their evaluation. Such people include the course instructor and classmates of this class, the professors, classmates, and general public in the town where I live. I will invite them to visit the websites and collect their opinion through questionnaire.