Presented by the W.O.W. Project. Co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
What can elderly Chinese Cuban women in Havana teach us about the fight to preserve Chinatown in New York City? How does Johannesburg’s Chinatown relate to Black and Asian race relations in the US? Where is home for the lineages of immigrants in the diaspora? The Chinese diaspora is worldwide. Immigrants have created home in countries where one may not expect to find thousands of Chinese restaurants in one city (Lima, Peru). In one year, Huiying Bernice Chan traveled solo to seven countries using Chinatowns as a starting point to learning about global stories of migration, activism, and resilience across the diaspora. Beginning in Latin America, stopping in South Africa, traversing Asia, and ending in Australia, Huiying shares their journey.
This event launches “Homeward Bound: Memories, Identity, and Resilience Across the Chinese Diaspora,” a series of public events that highlights everyday resilience in Chinatowns around the world. It is spearheaded by three local artists, ethnographers, and facilitators of The W.O.W. Project: Diane Wong, Mei Lum, and Huiying Bernice Chan, who have spent the past several years conducting ethnographic research and oral history interviews with the Chinese diaspora in New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Seattle, Lima, Havana, Johannesburg, Ho Chi Minh City, Kuala Lumpur, and Sydney. Each of these communities have overcome extraordinary struggles due to the lasting impacts of war, violence, displacement, and dispossession.
This public series is the first of its kind to preserve and build on the history of Chinatowns around the world through community-led and curated narratives from residents globally. By sharing an expanded collection of oral history interviews, photographs, and videos, we hope to build collaborative knowledge and space for community members to come together to expand our understanding of diaspora.