Chinese Educational Migration: 1840-1940

This project seeks to expand our understanding of early Chinese migration to the US by uncovering vital aspects of Chinese educational migration in the years between 1840 and 1940. Beginning with a case study of early Chinese students at MIT (1877-1931), the research investigates questions such as: how did Chinese Exclusion impact educational migrants? How can we understand early Chinese educational migration in relation to labor migration, chain migration, and merchant networks? What was the relationship between Chinese students at elite institutions such as MIT and local Chinese American communities? Can we trace the emergence of the "model minority" myth to the early experiences of Chinese students in the pre-World War II era? What particular role did engineering students play in this history? The project has to date resulted in a curated exhibit for the MIT Libraries, a website, written works in progress, and a collaborative project with Philips Academy Andover.

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