MOCACITIZEN: Chinese American "Returnees"

Sun, Nov 8, 2015 @ 2:30pm - 4:00pm


Tickets (includes museum admission): $12/Adult; $7/Student & Senior; FREE for MOCA Members

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Born in New York City to Chinese immigrant parents in 1900, Poy Gum Lee and his family move to China in 1923. Armed with an architectural education from Pratt Institute, MIT, and Columbia University, he embarked on a professional career in China. Lee’s story is far from unique. Census and immigration statistics suggest that between 15 and 20 percent of all Chinese American citizens in the first half of the twentieth century left the United States for China, most of them under the assumption that they would never permanently return to the land of their birth. Charlotte Brooks, Chair of the Program in Asian and Asian American Studies at Baruch College, examines the important roles these Chinese American “returnees” played in shaping the Republic of China during this time of immense change in China.

Speaker Bio

Charlotte Brooks is currently the Chair of the Program in Asian and Asian American Studies at Baruch College. She is the author most recently of Between Mao and McCarthy: Chinese American Politics in the Cold War Years and is currently doing research for a forthcoming book titled Immigrants from America: The Chinese American Second Generation in China, 1900-1949. Her first book, Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California, received an honorable mention for the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson turner Award. She received her B.A. in Chinese history from Yale University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in U.S. history from Northwestern University.



Image Credit: The Lees in Brooklyn, 1946, Photograph, Courtesy of the Poy Gum Lee Archive.