Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

1/1/2017 - 12/31/2017

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Immigrants from America: The Chinese American Second Generation in China, 1900-1949

FAIN: FA-232037-16

Charlotte Brooks
CUNY Research Foundation, Bernard Baruch College (New York, NY 10010-5585)

A book-length study of the history of Chinese Americans who migrated back to China in the first half of the 20th century, and of their contributions to the Republic of China.

Before World War II, people of Chinese ancestry born in the United States enjoyed few opportunities in America because of racial discrimination there. After the 1911 collapse of China's last imperial dynasty, many Chinese American citizens began to see the young republic that replaced it as a land of opportunity. Almost twenty percent of Chinese American citizens between 1912 and 1937 eventually left the United States and moved to China for careers, education, and to build the new nation. This project is the first study of these people, who helped shape Republican China's early institutions, organizations, companies, schools, cities, and politics. Through examining the lives and experiences of these forgotten Chinese Americans, the project will offer new perspectives on nation-building and economic development in China, the evolution of US citizenship and expatriation policies, and the fraught Sino-American relationship during the first half of the twentieth century.

Media Coverage

Why China should recognize that dissent can be patriotic (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Charlotte Brooks
Publication: Washington Post
Date: 10/23/2019
Abstract: Discusses the complex identities of current Hong Kong protestors and compares them to the Chinese American emigrants of a century ago.

William Y. Chang, Whose Newspaper Spoke to Chinatown in English, Dies at 103 (Media Coverage)
Author(s): Charlotte Brooks
Publication: New York Times
Date: 9/12/2019
Abstract: Obituary for W.Y. Chang, a Chinese American publisher educated at St. John's University, Shanghai.
URL: http://

Racism Pushed Chinese Americans to Leave the US En Masse (Media Coverage)
Publication: WNYC/NPR
Date: 12/18/2021

Associated Products

American Exodus: Second-Generation Chinese Americans in China, 1901-1949 (Book)
Title: American Exodus: Second-Generation Chinese Americans in China, 1901-1949
Author: Charlotte Brooks
Abstract: In the first decades of the 20th century, almost half of the Chinese Americans born in the United States moved to China-—a relocation they assumed would be permanent. At a time when people from around the world flocked to the United States, this little-noticed emigration belied America’s image as a magnet for immigrants and a land of upward mobility for all. Fleeing racism, Chinese Americans who sought greater opportunities saw China, a tottering empire and then a struggling republic, as their promised land. American Exodus is the first book to explore this extraordinary migration of Chinese Americans. Their exodus shaped Sino-American relations, the development of key economic sectors in China, the character of social life in its coastal cities, debates about the meaning of culture and “modernity” there, and the U.S. government’s approach to citizenship and expatriation in the interwar years.
Year: 2019
Publisher: University of California Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 978-0520302686
Copy sent to NEH?: Yes