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Grant number like: FEL-268440-20

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Andrea Louie
Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI 48824-3407)

Research Programs

[Grant products]

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2020 – 5/31/2021

Chinese American Mothering Across Generations: Toy Len Goon and the Creation and Recirculation of the Model Minority Myth

Research and writing leading to the publication of a biography of Toy Len Goon, the first Asian-American “Mother of the Year” awardee.

Like my two previous books, this project investigates how “Chineseness” as a cultural, political, and racialized identity is crafted in relation to legislation, discourses of cultural citizenship, and the positioning of Chinese Americans in relation to China. But it differs in a number of ways. First, Toy Len Goon was my maternal grandmother. Second, this is not a traditional anthropological ethnography, but one that integrates archival research with analysis of secondary newspaper and academic sources, and oral histories and interviews. Third, rather than a historical biography, it is more aptly described as an ethnography of the shifting terrain of the model minority discourse during the Cold War, focusing on a family that was at the center of the media attention, and exploring the continuing effects of this discourse as it circulated. I examine how it has been re-narrated to reflect current generations’ desired interpretations of their own history and future trajectory.