MRI Forum 5

"Continuity and Change in Intercultural Relations among Chinese
in the Americas: Understanding the Present through Selected Experiences
of the 19th Century"

by Professor Lucy M. Cohen
Department of Anthropology, The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C.

Language: English  
Transcript: to view


Summary of the Presentation

The speaker select several central themes in the Nineteenth century settlement of Chinese in the Americas to discuss continuities and discontinuities which have taken place. Intercultural encounters have been shaped by the changing nature of the organization of work, the shaping of policy about settlement and immigration, and the responses of the Chinese themselves. She proposes that local histories of Chinese settlements in the Americas should be understood within the context of the cosmopolitan worlds that have shaped their world views.

Professor Cohen also discuss briefly her exploration of Macau's historic influence in the images of Chinese emigrants.

Profile of the Speaker

Lucy M. Cohen was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. She received her B.A. in sociology with minors in history and psychology from Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles, California; M.S.W. and Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from The Catholic University of America, Washington D.C., with field work in archaeology from the University of New Mexico, and linguistics Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of Oklahoma.

She has been a Research Associate in the Smithsonian Institution Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies, Program Specialist, National Institute of Mental Health, and a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia. She has been awarded National Institute of Mental Health research awards, and institutional award from the Minority Mental Health division, for training of Latino students in applied anthropology in mental health. For completion of her ethnohistory of Chinese in the Post Civil War South she was awarded a National Endowment of the Humanities research award and an award from the Cultural Institute of Macao for beginning study of Cultural Images of Macau and Chinese in Nineteenth Century Latin America.

In addition, she has served as Observer, Inter American Commission on Women, President, Society for Medical Anthropology and a number of professional societies and associations. She is a Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Anthropological Association, American Society for Ethnohistory and the Society for Applied Anthropology and is a research panel reviewer for national and international boards. Her present honorary civic service includes Chairman, Policy Committee, Archdiocese of Washington, Board of Education, and Consultant, Spanish Catholic Center, Washington D.C. for service to immigrants and refugees.

She has published many articles and book chapters.

Articles which reflect ongoing research work: “Young Immigrants Views on Caretaking and Family Reunification,” in Illegal Immigration in America — A Reference Handbook, eds. D.W. Haines and K.E. Rosenblum, Greenwood, 1999; and “George W. Gift, Chinese Labor Agent in the Post Civil War South,” in Chinese America: History and Perspectives, San Francisco: Chinese Historical Society of America, 1997.

Book publications include: Las Colombianas en la Renovacion Universitaria (Bogota; Tercer Mundo, 1973); Patients and Programs at Area C Community Mental Health Center. Coeditor with Leila C. Deasy (Washington D.C. Department of Public Health, 1975); Culture Disease and Stress among Latino Immigrants, Smithsonian Institution: Research Institute on Immigration and Ethnic Studies 1979; Beliefs and Self Help (with George Weber); Chinese in the Post-Civil War South A People Without a History (Louisiana State University Press, 1984); Colombianas en la Vanguardia (Medellin: Universidad de Antioquia, 2001).