CHINESE DIASPORA ARCHAEOLOGY IN NORTH AMERICA
edited by Chelsea Rose and J. Ryan Kennedy
University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 2020. Illustrations, maps, tables, bibliography, index. 368 pages. $95.00, cloth.
While researching my book Herbs and Roots: A History of Chinese Doctors in the American Medical Marketplace, I relied on archaeological studies to augment historians' traditional arsenal of archival sources, public records, and oral histories. It was, therefore, a true pleasure to revisit this dynamic area of study in Chelsea Rose and J. Ryan Kennedy's collection of essays, Chinese Diaspora Archaeology in North America. The fourteen chapters of this volume offer a wide-ranging, accessibly written overview that showcases its many exciting possibilities of the field. Each essay speaks to critical conceptual, practical, and even personal challenges archaeologists bring to the study of Chinese lived experiences in Exclusion-era North America.
In their introduction, Rose and Kennedy state their intention to challenge prior conventions of the field by emphasizing transnationalism, heterogeneity within the community, and the significance of inter-ethnic relations; and they succeed. Each essay in the volume does just that from different vantage points and, importantly, at different scales of human experience. One can compare Douglas E. Ross's thoughtful and theory-driven consideration of diaspora as a framework for Chinese archaeology to Adrian Praetzellis and Mary Praetzellis's finely grained and deeply empathetic analysis of elderly Chinese men who immigrated...