Historical Archaeology

, Volume 49, Issue 1, pp 85–99 | Cite as

Alliance Strategies in the Racialized Railroad Economies of the American West

  • Charlotte K. Sunseri (夏洛特 ‧ 桑瑟里)


The rural railroad community of Mono Mills, California (1880–1917), was home to individuals of Chinese, Paiute, and European ancestry seeking work in the midst of the economic downturn of the West’s mining region. Archaeology of the workers’ households and archival evidence for the business ventures associated with their livelihoods, such as the Virginia & Truckee Railroad and the Bodie & Benton Railroad & Lumber Company, suggest that, particularly for the Chinese workers, aggregated transience and racism was a major factor in their daily lives and choices. The findings explore multiple ways in which racism biased job opportunities for Chinese laborers while it increased alliance building among marginalized groups—including intercommunity sociality, regional networks for employment, and economic cohesion—and perhaps led to increased fidelity between labor crews and powerful capitalists of the West. These dynamics had long-term impacts on the local, regional, and national socioeconomic networks in which the Chinese laborers participated.



在美国西部矿区经济低迷的时候 (1880−1917), 中国人、 派尤特印第安人以及欧洲人后裔曾前往默诺米尔斯寻找 工作, 在那里的乡村铁路社区建立了新的家园。对工人们 居家环境的考古研究, 和相关商业风险投资的文献证据 ( 例如, 弗吉尼亚和特拉基铁路、博迪和班顿铁路和伐木公 司), 显示出集体流动性与种族主义极大地影响了工人们 的日常生活与选择, 对中国工人来说尤其如此。这些研究 成果探索了种族主义对中国劳工的工作机会产生影响的多 重方式; 而与此同时, 种族主义也在增加边缘群体之间的 结盟—包括社区间的社会交往、雇佣的区域性网络以及经 济凝聚力—而这种结盟也有可能促进了劳工与西部的权贵 资本家们之间的相互忠诚。这些互动关系对中国工人所参 与的在地的、区域性的以及全国性的社会经济网络都有着 长期的影响。


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Copyright information

© Society for Historical Archaeology 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlotte K. Sunseri (夏洛特 ‧ 桑瑟里)
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA

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