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Pacific Connections

Pacific Connections: The Making of the U.S.-Canadian Borderlands

Kornel S. Chang
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
Pages: 264
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pp2gs
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  • Book Info
    Pacific Connections
    Book Description:

    In the late nineteenth century the borderlands between the United States, the British Empire in Canada, and the Asia-Pacific Rim emerged as a crossroads of the Pacific world. InPacific Connections, Kornel Chang tells the dramatic stories of the laborers, merchants, smugglers, and activists who crossed these borders into the twentieth century, and the American and British empire-builders who countered them by hardening racial and national lines. But even as settler societies attempted to control the processes of imperial integration, their project fractured under its contradictions. Migrant workers and radical activists pursued a transnational politics through the very networks that made empire possible. Charting the U.S.-Canadian borderlands from above and below,Pacific Connectionsreveals the messiness of imperial formation and the struggles it spawned from multiple locations and through different actors across the Pacific world.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95154-9
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. [MAPS]
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    On a clear, late august afternoon in 1896, a large crowd gathered around the Seattle waterfront against the backdrop of a brilliant firework display, which illuminated the Pacific skies above them, giving the aura of a truly grand occasion. The throng came from all parts of the city, which included its leading citizens—the mayor, the president of the chamber of commerce, and members of the city council—who took their place at the head of the festivities nearest to the water’s edge. A local reporter covering the pageantry noted: “The yells of thousands of people on the docks and...

  7. ONE Brokering Empire: THE MAKING OF A CHINESE TRANSNATIONAL MANAGERIAL ELITE
    (pp. 17-53)

    In 1862, Chin Gee Hee began a journey that would take him from his rural village in Guangdong province, China, to the various frontiers of the North American West. Inspired by the dream of “Gold Mountain”—the ubiquitous myth that spurred the mass movement of Chinese to the Anglophone settler world in the mid- and late nineteenth century—Chin Gee Hee joined the California gold rush with the hopes of striking it rich. Upon his arrival he headed straight to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada where visions of gold-paved streets quickly yielded to the harsh reality of labor and...

  8. TWO Contracting Between Empires: IMPERIAL LABOR CIRCUITS IN THE PACIFIC
    (pp. 54-88)

    In 1906, executives from the Oriental Trading Company huddled in their Seattle office to come up with a response to the new restrictions on Japanese emigration imposed recently by the Meiji government. Over protests from mercantile houses in Japan and the United States, the Japanese government had made the decision to limit the number of laborers leaving for America to two hundred per month. As one company executive pointedly noted: “This number will hardly more than suffice to maintain the present supply of Japanese in this country.”¹ With the decline in overseas Chinese labor, the Japanese had become the labor...

  9. THREE Circulating Race and Empire: WHITE LABOR ACTIVISM AND THE TRANSNATIONAL POLITICS OF ANTI-ASIAN AGITATION
    (pp. 89-116)

    On a clear saturday afternoon in September 1907, J. E. Wilton, the secretary of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council, was on the steps of City Hall rehearsing remarks for the day’s event when he started to notice the crowd gathering around him. While the multitude would eventually include politicians, merchants, and clergymen, it was comprised mostly of laborers who had converged on Vancouver from all parts of the region for a rally billed as the “great demonstration” against the attempt “to degrade working people.”¹ The recent surge in Japanese immigration from Hawai’i, orchestrated largely by the Seattle-based Oriental Trading...

  10. FOUR Pacific Insurgencies: REVOLUTION, RESISTANCE, AND THE RECUPERATION OF ASIAN MANHOOD
    (pp. 117-146)

    In 1908, thevancouverworld reported that South Asian anticolonial activists were “subscribing money for seditious purposes” in British Columbia, turning the province into a veritable “centre for revolutionary agitation.” Elaborating on this new foreign menace, the paper claimed that, “there is a certain school there, ostensibly for the instruction of Indians in English which is actually being managed by agitators for the purpose of imbuing Sikhs with revolutionary ideas.”¹ The Colonial Office in London, similarly, maintained that a clandestine revolutionary cabal was operating out of the Pacific Northwest. “I have been informed that it is likely bombs are manufactured...

  11. FIVE Policing Migrants and Militants: IN DEFENSE OF NATION AND EMPIRE IN THE BORDERLANDS
    (pp. 147-178)

    In July 1914, three Canadian Sikhs, Bhag Singh, Balwant Singh, and Mew Singh, crossed the boundary into the sleepy border town of Sumas, Washington. They were trailed closely by U.S. immigration inspectors who had been tipped off to a possible meeting of South Asian radicals there. While the exact purpose of the gathering was unknown, authorities suspected it was part of an ongoing plot to exploit the controversy surrounding theKomagata Maru. TheKomagata Maruincident, as it was called, involved the standoff between Dominion immigration authorities and 376 South Asian passengers on board a Japanese steamship liner that had...

  12. Epilogue and Conclusion
    (pp. 179-192)

    The greatest trade and commerce that will ever be had in this world is awaiting some city on the Pacific that is willing, able, wise, and foresighted enough to reach and secure it. This idea is not an opinion, it is reality. Already this trade amounts to hundreds of millions a year; but that is only a beginning. The China Club can secure most of this trade for Seattle if it will sincerely strive to secure it. That trade is not only between China (especially South China) but also between the Philippines, Japan, and the United States.¹

    But this [domestic]...

  13. NOTES
    (pp. 193-236)
  14. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 237-252)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 253-268)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 269-272)