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Shelley Fisher Fishkin & Gabriel Wolfenstein-- "Listening to Silence, Seeing Absence: The Challenge of Reconstructing Chinese Railroad Workers' Lives"

Between 1865 and 1869, thousands of Chinese migrants toiled at a grueling pace and in perilous working conditions to help construct the first transcontinental railroad across North America. The railroad, which could not have been completed without these Chinese workers, was the main source of the fortune with which Leland Stanford founded Stanford University. How do we reconstruct the lived experience of individuals who left no written records themselves? How do we fill in the broad gaps in the historical record? The Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford University, a transnational, multidisciplinary  research project that now involves over 100 scholars in North America and Asia, is trying to reconstruct that story and share it. As co-director of the Project, Shelley Fisher Fishkin will talk about how the Project is trying to give a voice to these Chinese migrants through an online digital archive available to all, along with books, articles, digital visualizations, and exhibits. 
Shelley Fisher Fishkin is the Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities and Professor of English at Stanford and Director of Stanford's American Studies Program. Dr. Fishkin is the author, editor or co-editor of over forty books and has published over one hundred articles, essays, columns, and reviews. She has served as President of the American Studies Association and the Mark Twain Circle of America. Her current project is a collaborative transnational, bilingual research project dealing with the Chinese Railroad Workers whose labor helped establish the wealth that allowed Leland Stanford to build Stanford University. The goal of the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project at Stanford  (CRRWP) is to try to recover their experience and their world more fully than ever before, and to understand how these workers have figured in cultural memory in the U.S. and China. For more information about her research, accolates, and other accomplishments, see her full bio here
This event is hosted by the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) as a part of its biweekly seminar series focusing on using the latest technological innovations to pursue humanistic and social scientific inquiry. 
Remote Access also available. 



Tuesday, January 31, 2017. 12:00 PM


Wallenberg Hall, Room 433A


Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA)




Lunch will be served. RSVP appreciated, but not required.