Towards a Transpacific Archaeology of the Modern World

  • Barbara L. VossEmail author


The historical archaeology of overseas Chinese communities is a rapidly growing subfield. Although historical archaeology is not widely practiced in China, there are well-developed interdiscipinary research centers that investigate the history and culture of migrants’ qiaoxiang (hometown) societies. Scholars in American Studies programs throughout Asia are also bringing new perspectives to the study of Chinese migration past and present. By collaborating with these scholars, archaeologists on the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project are developing new chronological, geographic, spatial, and material frameworks for the interpretation of overseas Chinese archaeological sites and landscapes.


Overseas Chinese Transnational archaeology Railroad workers Guangdong Province 



The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project is supported by Stanford University as well as several foundations and individual donors listed at I am especially grateful to the faculty, staff, and students of the Department of History, Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University, the Guangdong Qiaoxiang Culture Research Centre at Wuyi University, and the Cang Dong Education Center in Kaiping, Guangdong, for inviting Kelly Dixon, J. Ryan Kennedy, and me to the symposium and research excursion discussed in this article. Gordon Chang, Shelley Fisher Fishkin, J. Ryan Kennedy, Kelly Dixon, and two reviewers provided thoughtful feedback on earlier drafts of this manuscript. Landis and Kat Bennett of 360 Geographics produced the map for Fig. 2. Jinhua (Selia) Tan granted permission to reprint Fig. 9.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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