Award Date

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in History

Department

History

Advisor 1

Sue Fawn Chung, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

David Wrobel

Second Committee Member

Raquel Casas

Graduate Faculty Representative

Louisa McDonald

Number of Pages

305

Abstract

This thesis is a global comparative study tracing the functions and historical development of Chinese huiguan ["official organization"] and its leadership in China, Indochina, and San Francisco. Early Chinese immigration to America and Indochina involved the formation of huiguan, organizations based on dialect and native place, paralleling the functions and demography of merchant associations originating in China. The merchant elite representing its leadership were preeminent arbitrators of Chinese tradition and authority. French Indochina and America recognized their status as community leaders, further exalting the social standing of merchants and increasing their positions of authority. These organizations greatly influenced the lives of a majority of Chinese immigrants in an attempt to replicate, with varying degrees of fidelity, the social, religious, and networking environments of native-place regions. By providing material aid, financial connections, and charitable functions, huiguan existed within a framework of carefully-defined relationships essential to the very survival of Chinese communities.

Keywords

Chinese huiguan; Chinese immigrants; Chinese societies; Merchants; Social classes; Social organizations; Social status

Disciplines

Cultural History | History | Social History

Language

English


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