This provocative history of the largest annual Chinese celebration in the United States—the Chinese New Year parade and beauty pageant in San Francisco—opens a new window onto the evolution of one Chinese American community over the second half of the twentieth century. In a vividly detailed account that incorporates many different voices and perspectives, Chiou-ling Yeh explores the origins of these public events and charts how, from their beginning in 1953, they developed as a result of Chinese business community ties with American culture, business, and politics. What emerges is a fascinating picture of how an ethnic community shaped and was shaped by transnational and national politics, economics, ethnic movements, feminism, and queer activism.
list of illustrations
Introduction / Making Multicultural America: Cold War Politics, Ethnic Celebrations, and Chinese America
1. Transnational Celebrations in Changing Political Climates
2. “In the Traditions of China and in the Freedom of America”: The Making of the Chinese New Year Festival
3. Constructing a “Model Minority” Identity: The Miss Chinatown U.S.A. Beauty Pageant
4. Yellow Power: Race, Class, Gender, and Activism
5. Heated Debate on the Ethnic Beauty Pageant
6. Hybridity in Culture, Memory, and Politics
7. Selling Chineseness and Marketing Chinese New Year: Corporate Sponsorship, Television Broadcasts, and Counter Memory
8. “We Are One Family”: Queerness, Transnationalism, and Identity Politics
Epilogue / Post–Cold War Celebrations
Chiou-ling Yeh is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at San Diego State University.
“This ambitious book provides ... no simple description of the celebration, but rather a broad-ranging analysis of the evolving politics and sociocultural forces that inform and shape the festivities. Yeh has written one of the best books on post-World War II Chinese American life in recent years. It will certainly find a place on many syllabi for graduate and advanced undergraduate courses.”—K. Scott Wong Journal Of American Ethnic History
“Yeh’s fine study will help us comprehend such crucial issues as ethnic identity, racial negotiation, and cultural infusion in our multicultural America.”—Journal Of American History