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Food Politics of Alliance in a California Frontier Chinatown

  • Charlotte K. SunseriEmail author
Article

Abstract

Archaeological investigation of Mono Mills (1880–1917), a pluralistic community in California’s mining frontier, is beginning to reveal how immigrants mobilized or mitigated power inequalities through identity expression, community cohesion, and labor relations. Archival records, coupled with the archaeology of household foodways in the Chinatown neighborhood, reveal how social inequalities, labor organization, and identities reflect the impacts of racialization and strategies of resistance. Multicultural objects and aspects of cuisine were intimately entangled in the practices of laborers’ daily lives. The research highlights impacts of late nineteenth-century legislation to discriminate against Chinese immigrants, the agency of marginalized groups, and the long-term effects of discrimination.

Keywords

Social identities Foodways Chinese-American Discrimination 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Special thanks to editor Charles Orser as well as Mary Maniery, Rebecca Allen, Jun Sunseri and one anonymous reviewer for valuable comments on previous versions of this manuscript which greatly improved the article. This article began as a paper presented at the 2012 American Anthropological Association meetings in the symposium “Immigration Past and Present: Archaeology in Action” organized by Barbara Voss, and conversations with session participants aided in the development of the paper’s core ideas. Archaeological data for this paper is the product of the 2012 SJSU field project conducted in collaboration with the Mono Lake Kutzadika’a Paiute Indian Community, as well as faunal analysis research completed by Alexandra Levin. The opinions expressed and any errors in the manuscript are mine alone.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySan José State UniversitySan JoséUSA

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