This article discusses the goals, contents, scope, and potential of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project, a digital archive to be made public in 2019. The article includes examples of the research and acquisition of previously unknown materials for the archive. It concludes with a demonstration of how the archive’s diverse materials can be used by scholars—a study of the depiction of Chinese laborers in the photographs commissioned by the transcontinental railroad companies, in conjunction with the rail companies’ payroll records and the photographers’ oeuvre.
Archives, Photography, and Historical Memory: Tracking the Chinese Railroad Worker in North America
Denise Khor is assistant professor of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston where she specializes in Asian American history, comparative ethnic studies, film history, and visual culture. Prior to her arrival at UMass Boston, she held a postdoctoral position in the Ethnicity, Race, and Migration Program and Film Studies at Yale University. She also served as Research Director of Stanford University’s Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project. Her current book project explores the historical experiences of Japanese and Japanese Americans at the cinema during the first half of the twentieth century.
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Denise Khor; Archives, Photography, and Historical Memory: Tracking the Chinese Railroad Worker in North America. Southern California Quarterly 1 November 2016; 98 (4): 429–456. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/scq.2016.98.4.429
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