Health and Healing in Chinese America

Saturday, January 5, 2019
Stevens C Prefunction (Hilton Chicago)
Grant Wen, Duke University
I argue that Chinese American actors actively resisted prejudiced policies, particularly in the marketplace of healthcare. Chinese American merchants, following a Chinese tradition, capitalized upon their elite status and social capital to establish the Chinese Hospital, an institution responsive to and representing Chinese American interests amidst a belligerent sociopolitical environment. At the same time, herbal doctors in California carved out a space to practice their trade by assuming the role of a merchant and adopting traditionally Chinese advertisement techniques to escape the limitations set by the state, providing affordable and accessible healthcare to both Chinese and non-Chinese populations. This project divulges the ways in which Chinese American individuals and institutions provided accessible healthcare and a voice for their community while adapting to the sociopolitical context of California and changes in their relationship to China.
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