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Transformation of Chinatowns in the United States

November 19 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

This year is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Min ZHOU’s first book, Chinatown: The Socioeconomic Potential of an Urban Enclave (Temple University Press, 1992). She completed her research on New York City’s Chinatown in March 1989 and received her PhD in sociology in May of the same year. Dr. Zhou published Chinatown based on her dissertation research in 1992 with the Chinese edition published in 1995. Currently, she is having this classic work retranslated with updates, which will be published in China soon. Dr. Zhou’s academic career started in Chinatown. In her empirical study of New York’s Chinatown, using quantitative and qualitative mixed methods research (MMR), she came to this main conclusion: Despite the fact that most of Chinese residents in Chinatown are new immigrants, lacking English proficiency and the work experience and labor skills required by the mainstream economy, Chinatowns are not urban slums as traditional theory defines them. On the contrary, Chinatown has a long-standing and resilient ethnic economic and social structure with great potential for development, creating practical and favorable conditions and opportunities for immigrants that cannot be provided elsewhere. The ethnic community does provide new Chinese immigrants, especially new arrivals from middle and lower socioeconomic backgrounds, an alternative path of upward social mobility.

The Chinese American community today has undergone tremendous changes. While most new Chinese immigrants arriving in the United States in the 21st century no longer need to use Chinatown as a springboard (in fact, many new immigrants have bypassed Chinatowns to settle directly in white middle-class suburbs or ethnoburbs), Dr. Zhou’s main conclusion drawn from her original Chinatown study is still relevant with theoretical and practical significance. The expanded Chinese American community, along with its economic and social support functions are still evolving. Old Chinatowns, new urban Chinatowns, and new Chinese ethnoburbs continue to provide important tangible and intangible support for ethnic group members. In this public lecture, Professor Zhou will analyze the causes and consequences of community transformation as impacted by multi-layer structural and cultural factors and discuss the challenges and prospects facing the changing Chinese American community.

Min Zhou, Ph.D. (Sociology), is an academician of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAA&S). She is currently Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies, Walter and Shirley Wang Endowed Chair in US-China Relations and Communications, and Director of the Asia Pacific Center at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Chinese Overseas and sits on the editorial boards of important scholarly journals, such as Ethnic and Racial Studies, and is an elected board member of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO). She was the Tan Lark Sye Chair Professor, head of the Sociology Division, and director of the Chinese Heritage Centre at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2013-2016). Her main research areas are in migration & development, race and ethnicity, Chinese diasporas, Asian American studies, and urban sociology. She has published widely in these areas, including the award-winning book The Asian American Achievement Paradox (with Lee, 2015), The Rise of the New Second Generation (with Bankston, 2016), Contemporary Chinese Diasporas (ed., 2017), Forever Strangers? Contemporary Chinese Immigrants around the World (ed., 2021, in traditional Chinese), and Beyond Economic Migration: Historical, Social, and Political Factors in US Immigration (eds., with Mahmud, 2023). Her Google Scholar citation count was 33,500 as of October 14, 2022. She was the recipient of the 2017 Distinguished Career Award of the American Sociological Association (ASA) Section on International Migration and the 2020 Contribution to the Field Award of the ASA Section on Asia and Asian America. More information about Dr. Zhou can be found at: http://mzhou.scholar.ss.ucla.edu/.

1992年,美国天普大学出版社出版了周敏博士的英文专著《唐人街》,至今已经整整30年了。周敏博士于1989年3月完成了博士论文,同年5月获美国纽约州立大学奥尔本尼分校社会学博士学位。论文经修改和补充,于1992年出版了这部英文学术专著,1995年在北京出了中文版。目前正在重新翻译重版。唐人街是周敏博士学术生涯的起点。当年她采用了定量与质性混合研究法对纽约唐人街的实证研究得出了这一个主要结论:唐人街里的华人居民虽然大多是新移民,缺乏英语能力和主流经济所需的工作经验和劳动技能,生活拮据,貌似被困在永久的贫穷和种族隔离。但唐人街并非是传统理论中所定义的城市贫民窟。与此相反,唐人街有历史悠久且坚韧抗逆性的族裔经济和社会结构,深具发展潜力,为移民创造了其它地方所不能提供的切实有利的条件和机遇,为华人新移民,尤其是处于中下层社会经济背景的新移民,确确实实地提供了一条能够实现上向社会流动的路径。

如今,美国华人社会已经发生了翻天覆地的变化。虽然21世纪抵达美国的大部分华人新移民已经不再需要利用唐人街做跳板(事实上,很多新移民都直接到中产阶级居住的郊区或是族裔郊区去住了),但周敏博士在1980年代末所得出的结论至今仍有理论和现实的意义。扩展了的华人社会及其经济和社会支持功能仍然在不断地发展中之中。华人聚居的传统唐人街,新的城市华人社区和华人聚居郊区(ethnoburb)及其族裔经济和社会组织继续为族群成员提供了重要和切实的物质和社会支持。为进一步了解美国唐人街的现状,华美人文学会特邀周敏博士于美东时间11月19日晚8时至9时半(北京时间11月20日上午9时至10:30)做“美国唐人街的发展与变迁”专题讲座。本次讲座旨在剖析唐人街变迁的多层结构和文化因素以及对美国华人社会面临的挑战和前景问题展开讨论。

主讲人周敏,社会学博士,美国艺术与科学院(American Academy of Arts and Sciences)院士。现任美国洛杉矶加州大学(UCLA)社会学和亚美研究学终身讲座教授(亚美研究学系首任系主任)、王文祥伉俪美中关係与传媒基金讲座教授,UCLA亚太中心主任,她还担任《海外华人研究》(英文 Journal of Chinese Overseas)联合主编;《民族与种族研究》(英文 Ethnic and Racial Studies)、《华人研究国际学报》(华文)、《国际移民》(英文 International Migration)等国际性中英文学术刊物的编委以及《世界华人研究学会》(ISSCO)理事。曾任新加坡南洋理工大学陈六使讲座教授、社会学系主任和华裔馆馆长;中国中山大学长江学者讲座教授;北美华人社会学学会会长、美国社会学学会理事,美国社会学学会国际移民分会会长以及美国社会学学会亚洲与亚美研究分会会长等。主要研究领域是国际移民社会学、种族与族裔关係、新移民第二代、海外华人研究、亚洲与美国亚裔研究以及城市社会学。迄今为止,她共出版了20本学术专著,在著名学术杂志和刊物中发表了220馀篇学术论文,包括:《美国亚裔成就的悖论》(英文,合著,2015),《美国移民第二代的崛起》(英文,合著,2016),《当代海外华人社会》(英文,编著,2017),《长为异乡客?当代华人新移民》(华文,主编,2021),《超越经济移民》(英文,合编,2023)。她的谷歌学术引用次数至2022年9月17日止达33360次。她荣获2017年美国社会学学会国际移民分会杰出职业成就奖和2020美国社会学学会亚洲与亚美研究分会杰出学术贡献奖。更多信息可见:http://mzhou.scholar.ss.ucla.edu/

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Date:
November 19
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8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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