Election Day Educator Workshop – Resisting Exclusion: Rewriting Narratives of the Chinese American Experience
November 8, 2022, 8:45 am – 3:30 pm
In light of recent waves of pandemic-fueled Anti-Asian hate and violence that have swept the nation, join MOCA, the Railroad Readers Workshop, and Associate Professor Mark T. Johnson in reflecting on Chinese American resistance in the face of exclusion. Together, we’ll explore the impact of discriminatory exclusion-era legislation and the legacy of the rallying cry “The Chinese Must Go!” We’ll also highlight the ways in which Chinese Americans resisted, protested, and defied these policies.
Throughout the day, educators will tour MOCA’s exhibitions, With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America and Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism; unpack primary sources about the Chinese American experience; and participate in hands-on activities that encourage them to consider how to uproot narratives of Asian American passivism in their classrooms.
The afternoon will include a keynote conversation with Associate Professor Mark T. Johnson, author of The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky: A History of the Chinese Experience in Montana, who will share how Chinese Montanans fought for their rights, wielded agency in determined efforts to achieve their goals, and resisted oppression through ingenuity and community mobilization.
Participants will receive 5.5 CTLE hours. $20/participant. Coffee/tea and Chinese breakfast pastries included. Recommended for educators of students in grades 7 – 12.
Please note: MOCA no longer requires proof of vaccination, however, at this time masks are required for all staff and all visitors age 2 and over.
Presenter Bio: Anna Young of the Railroad Readers Project
Anna Young, founder of the Railroad Readers Workshop, has worked in education for the past seven years and currently serves as an Adolescent Learning Specialist in Long Island City, Queens. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from McGill University and is currently pursuing an M.S. in Special Education at CUNY Hunter College. The Young family is 5th generation Asian American/Canadian and includes Chinese and Japanese ancestry.
After working at MOCA as a tour guide, Anna was inspired to take a road trip across Canada following her family’s migration path from Vancouver to Toronto. She learned in-depth about her family’s experience in Japanese internment camps and the rural Chinatowns her great-grandparents founded. This experience led her to envision Railroad Readers Workshop. The goal of the program is to provide targeted literacy instruction with a focus on the AANHPI experience. Anna’s driving motivation is to create culturally-relevant humanities curricula for neurodiverse adolescents that inspire curiosity about both our city blocks and our global community.
Keynote Speaker Bio: Mark T. Johnson
Mark T. Johnson is an associate professor with the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. Author of the recent book The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky: A History of the Chinese Experience in Montana (University of Nebraska Press, 2022), Johnson’s research focuses on telling the history of Chinese communities in Montana in their own words and through a global lens.
About the Book
From the earliest days of non-Native settlement of Montana, when Chinese immigrants made up more than 10 percent of the territory’s population, Chinese pioneers played a key role in the region’s development. But this population, so crucial to Montana’s history, remains underrepresented in historical accounts, and popular attention to the Chinese in Montana tends to focus on sensational elements—exoticizing Chinese Montanans and distancing their experiences from our modern understanding. The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky* recovers the stories of Montana’s Chinese population in their own words and deepens understanding of Chinese experiences in Montana with a global lens.
Prof. Johnson has mined several large collections of primary documents left by Chinese pioneers, translated into English for the first time. These collections, spanning the 1880s-1950s, provide insight into the pressures the Chinese community faced—from family members back in China and from non-Chinese Montanans—as economic and cultural disturbances complicated acceptance of Chinese residents in the state. Through their own voices Prof. Johnson reveals the agency of Chinese Montanans in the history of the American West and China.
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