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Association Heritage in Early Chinatowns in North America

Most early generation overseas Chinese were Cantonese from Guangdong Province of China, their settlements in North America eventually became a typical Chinese landscape in a foreign country, especially the associations. Separated from their family far away from China, the Chinese sojourners considered the Chinese associations they belonged to as their “homes”- the place for safe-ty, mutual help, and ancestral beliefs. Chinatowns were managed as a Chinese society with associations built by linkage of kinship, geographical origins and business relationship. Chinese, especially Cantonese culture was practiced by Chinatown people, associa-tion buildings is a cultural mixture of Chinese and Western, revealing Chinese fengshui beliefs and cultural customs in a foreign land. However, association life declined quickly in recent years, many find it difficult to attract new generations. This lecture will focus on association heritage and their linkage to their hometown in China, looking at the the history, culture, architecture and herit-age conservation aspects.

Dr. Tan is an Associate Professor focusing on overseas Chinese history and heritage conservation for the Overseas Chinese Hometown Cultural Research Centre of China at Wuyi University. Dr. Tan serves as a history researcher and also a consultant for cultural heritage conservation, including projects for World Cultural Heritage. She was a principal researcher, advocate and advisor for the UNESCO World Heritage inscription of the Kaiping Diaolou and Villages site in China, and established the Cangdong Pro-ject for research and practice in real heritage conservation for the site. The project was awarded the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Cultutal Heritage Conservation Award of Merit in 2015, and is now an educational centre for heritage conservation.



Wednesday, October 26, 2016. 12:00 PM


Archaeology Center


Stanford Archaeology Center




All are welcome.