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HIST 325
Jonathan Newell

Review: “Strangers Within our Gates”: Social and Institutional Responses to Immigration, Early 20 century  Strangers Within our Gates: double meaning: 1) immigrants as strangers, gates are boundaries that we can open/close; 2) title of book  Ethnocentrism ◦ Anglo-Saxon Nation critical for Canada ◦ Tides of foreign immigrants THE major national social problem ◦ Assimilating immigrants capable of assimilation intoAnglo-Saxon civilization; many organizations (esp. Churches) took up the cause (for empire, not just Canada) ◦ Exclusions of all others ◦ Methodists and Presbyterians major actors Lecture: Chinatowns and the VancouverAnti-Asiatic Riots, 1907  Chinatowns were critical economic nodes and enclaves for overseas Chinese labour migration  Mounting anti-Chinese and anti-Japanese hostility  Vancouver Riots 1907 followed US; precipitated changes to the ImmigrationAct and 'Strangers within our gates'  Anti-Asiatic rampage publicized across the world-famous  Mackenzie King's reports that followed led to reinforcement of Canada as “white” nation and SouthAsians becoming targeted as latest “oriental” threat  Riots combination of majority Canadian's fear of economic competition (from cheap labour) and sense of racial superiority  Chinatowns ◦ By late 19 century, 90% of Chinese migrants were in SoutheastAsia; 10% of migrants were elsewhere--> 1/3 of 10% of them to NorthAmerica: 90K in US, 15K in Canada (BC) ◦ Came from South China, Pearl River delta ◦ Were male sojourners, supported their long-distance families via remittances ◦ It is said that wherever the Chinese have migrated, as they “rode the waves of capitalism around the world” they proved to be the most adaptable peoples in the world ◦ Lifeline for import-export, travel and remittances was: ▪ Hong Kong (filtering place--> went to HK then spread to other countries) ▪ Overseas Chinese communities: the Chinatowns ◦ Chinatowns: critical nodes in international sojourning network ◦ Relatively independent social and economic centres; staging areas for labourers; cultural refuges; ethnic “islands” (usually left alone/tolerated if stayed inside Chinatowns)  Overseas Chinese labour contracts ◦ Chinese traders: merchants and merchant-contractors and their families; excellent cross-cultural brokerage skills ◦ Chinese contract labour gangs (male-sojourners), indebted to Chinese contractors for passages, head tax, basic necessities of life ◦ Overseas Chinese/contract labour system around for long before coming to Vancouver in late 19 century  In British Columbia ◦ Some Chinese came with placer gold discoveries in 1850s, but work on transcontinental railway; 1880s brought Chinese to Canada in large numbers (Dangerous BC section) ◦ 1882 US excluded Chinese immigra
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