H-Diplo Essay 274- Evelyn Hu-DeHart on Learning the Scholar’s Craft: Reflections of Historians and International Relations Scholars31 min read

Chapter 1: By the age of twelve, I had been a refugee twice: the first time, when my family fled Chongqing (Chungking) China in late 1949 to British Hong Kong after the Communists triumphed over Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists (Kuomintang or KMT)[1].  As part of the Great Exodus from China, my parents did not follow the KMT to Taiwan after a defeated Imperial Japan was forced to release its colonial hold on the island; there, Chiang established the Republic of China under the patronage of the United States at the dawn of the Cold War.  Adherents of neither the Communist Party nor the KMT, my parents were stranded with three small children in Hong Kong as stateless people because the British would not grant us formal refugee status.  My father, a graduate of Peking University, had been secretary of the anti-Japanese movement in the thirties; he then worked in the wartime capital Chongqing where he managed the government bank that handled foreign exchange.   My mother, a rare woman university graduate of the early twentieth century, worked as a high school teacher.

H-Diplo Essay 274

Essay Series on Learning the Scholar’s Craft: Reflections of Historians and International Relations Scholars
1 October 2020

On How My Scholar’s Craft Evolved in 6 Chapters:  A Brief Intellectual Memoir of a Refugee Girl from China Who Became a Historian of Latin America.

Series Editor: Diane Labrosse | Commissioning Editor: Taomo Zhou | Production Editor: George Fujii

Essay by Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Brown University

Chapter 1: By the age of twelve, I had been a refugee twice: the first time, when my family fled Chongqing (Chungking) China in late 1949 to British Hong Kong after the Communists triumphed over Chiang Kai-shek and the Nationalists (Kuomintang or KMT)[1].  As part of the Great Exodus from China, my parents did not follow the KMT to Taiwan after a defeated Imperial Japan was forced to release its colonial hold on the island; there, Chiang established the Republic of China under the patronage of the United States at the dawn of the Cold War.  Adherents of neither the Communist Party nor the KMT, my parents were stranded with three small children in Hong Kong as stateless people because the British would not grant us formal refugee status.  My father, a graduate of Peking University, had been secretary of the anti-Japanese movement in the thirties; he then worked in the wartime capital Chongqing where he managed the government bank that handled foreign exchange.   My mother, a rare woman university graduate of the early twentieth century, worked as a high school teacher.

We were refugees again when the U.S. created a small loophole in the Asiatic Barred Zone of the 1924 Immigration Act to allow a handful of “refugees from Communism” who were stuck in Hong Kong to enter to the United States.  While working as a translator of American popular culture for the American consulate in the early fifties, my father learned of this opportunity as hopes diminished by the day for the possibility of returning home to China.[2]   The Cold Warriors in the U.S. Congress did not want to bring to the United States the same kind of unlettered labor migrants or ‘coolies’ of the nineteenth century; thus they stipulated in the Aid Refugee Chinese Intellectuals (ARCI) Act of 1952 that only refugees with university degrees could enter the lottery that winnowed the applicants down to a few hundred; we were one of the fortunate families.

At the end of 1959, we boarded a Pan Am charter propeller plane to America, a voyage that took two days with layovers in Tokyo, Guam, and Honolulu before landing in San Francisco.  We heralded the beginning of the “good immigrants”[3]—generations of postwar Chinese immigrants to the United States that have helped give rise to the ‘model minority’ construction of highly ambitious and hyper-successful Asian immigrants in education, professional careers, and business that set them apart from longtime American minorities who have traditionally been maligned as having failed, even as Asians remain ‘people of color.’

Chapter 2: I was twelve years old when we settled in Palo Alto,

California, on the cusp of the rise of the Silicon Valley.  Along with an older brother and a younger sister, I attended Palo Alto public schools wearing clothes from the Salvation Army, but armed with good English language skills because our parents had the foresight to enroll us in British and American missionary schools in Hong Kong so that we would learn English.  Not surprisingly, as children, our integration into American society and the education system was relatively smooth.   According to Plan A and the only plan because they had no Plan B, we were supposed to enter Stanford University on scholarships, while my university-degreed parents eked out a living working menial jobs, the typical story of refugees.  In high school, perhaps in response to my mother’s language challenge—in her solitary work as a house cleaner, she never learned much English—I willed myself into Advanced Placement English and started to learn French and German as well.

As my parents had little disposable income for music and sports equipment and lessons, I chose extra-curricular that required no fees, such as student government, drama and public speaking.  Since my Chinese physical appearance disqualified me from auditioning for any part in the plays my high school chose to perform, I looked to public speaking for opportunities to test my youthful brashness.  In my senior year, my recitation of Martin Luther King’s deeply moving “I Have A Dream” speech which had been delivered at the 1963 March on Washington propelled me to the state finals.  Perhaps I was a sight to behold, the novelty of a slightly built immigrant child in two long braids belting out a call for civil rights and racial justice; perhaps, if they closed their eyes, judges could faintly detect Dr. King’s soul in my vibrating voice.

Chapter 3: Stanford University changed my life, for the myriad opportunities it offered a refugee child to study whatever struck her fancy, but also for how the students engaged with the demands of the sixties for civil rights and women’s rights, and challenged the government’s imperatives of the Cold War.  In my freshman year, I became a naturalized American citizen, after answering some basic questions in U.S. history and English, as well responding to queries that were shocking to an innocent teen about moral character (“Have you ever been a prostitute?”).   Becoming an official American stabilized an unnerving experience during my senior year at Palo Alto High School, when my teachers nominated me to receive the annual “Good Citizenship Award” from the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  At the school ceremony when the good ladies of the DAR discovered I was not an actual United States citizen, they went into a huddle, then announced with righteous solemnity that they could not award a good citizenship award to an “alien.”   To be sure, I was publicly embarrassed, while I encountered for the first time a word that has since become fraught with meaning in my personal and professional life.

Gifted with a full scholarship and gently reminded by a kindly admissions officer that Stanford had to “lower its bar” to give me an opportunity because school counselors testified I was a hardworking immigrant with good grades despite lower than normal SAT scores—a civil rights initiative I later learned was called “affirmative action”—I was duly grateful.[4]  I made the most of the opportunities at this rich, elite university to explore the world through academic experiences.  I leapt at the opportunity to study at the Stanford-in-Germany campus, at a time when the Berlin Wall, which I was able to cross as an American, symbolized the division of the country into East and West.  From Germany, I hitchhiked with several classmates to Turkey, Lebanon, and Syria on the way to Pakistan, but were stopped at the border of Afghanistan by a cholera epidemic.   Later, I joined some young English students to hitchhike to Jordan (through then Yugoslavia and Greece) where a Palestinian family invited me to stay a week before I crossed another border at the Mandelbaum Gate to Israel to work at Kibbutz Alonim near Haifa for free room and board.

Stanford sent me to Brazil next, where I began to learn Portuguese, and encountered a society in social turmoil amid calls for social justice, where mass movements to mobilize and educate landless peasants led by grassroots leaders Francisco Julião and Paulo Freire mutually inspired and reinforced the liberation theology of Archbishop Dom Hélder Câmara of Recife in the northeast.  I literally plunked myself down in the middle of this heady mix of ideas and action, as a guest of the Archbishop and his staff.  The Archbishop, of course, was too busy with weighty matters to hang out with me, but he opened the door to another face of America and my eyes to another source of great social and racial injustice.   Thus, I revolved to become a scholar of Latin America when I graduated from Stanford University in 1968 and returned to Brazil with a Fulbright fellowship.  After two visits, I left Brazil with another indelible memory: the occasional encounters with Chinese and Japanese, which were totally unexpected chance meetings because their presence was largely missing in books on Latin American history that I had studied.

The policies of the Cold War continued to play a role in the development of my professional life and worldview.  During my undergraduate years, while I traveled to see and experience the world, the world came to us back home by way of the Vietnam War and the draft, which in turn opened our eyes to anti-imperialist struggles around the world, in particular Central America closer to home.  Meanwhile, in the U.S., geopolitical concerns of the Cold War—about losing hegemony in the so-called developing world of Asia, Latin America/Caribbean and Africa to the seductive siren calls of decolonization and social equality under Communism—found eager partners in the great research universities to nurture new crops of specialists in Area Studies or Third World Studies.   Two or three generations of scholars were fueled by generous fellowships created by the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) to pursue M.A.s and Ph.D.s in Area Studies, which were necessary credentials for careers in academia and government (such as the State Department and the CIA) and think tanks.

When I gradually matured politically and intellectually at the end of the sixties, the NDEA was about to end and the Cold War was beginning to subside.  My generation of university graduates were drawn to Area Studies not so much to bolster U.S. hegemony around the world as to rethink our relationship with the rest of the world and the peoples of the world, especially the dispossessed, the voiceless, the under-represented.  Our interests and the government’s worldview diverged.  But, I confess, these misgivings did not stop me from accepting the largess of the U.S. federal government to continue my education in graduate school.  Having forfeited the immigrant parents’ dream for their children to pursue financially secure careers in science, engineering, law, or medicine, I also sensed that becoming a university professor might go some way to meet up with their delayed gratification.  But first, I and my new husband, fellow Stanford graduate and activist Dean DeHart, went to Spain to learn Spanish, and where we also witnessed first-hand life under the grim, dark forces of the fascist Franco dictatorship and its Guardia Civil.

Chapter 4:  Only 21 years old, I entered the Ph.D. program at the University of Texas at Austin. The NDEA fellowship was so generous I did not have to pause to work as teaching or research assistant.   In two years, I was off to Mexico to undertake dissertation research with another generous two-year fellowship from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).  Casting my gaze across the U.S to Mexico City, which lay just a few hours drive from Austin, I found an exciting dissertation topic in the revolt of Catholic peasants who rose up against northern revolutionary leaders Alvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elías Calles, who had taken power after the Mexican Revolution nominally ended after nearly a decade of violent civil war at the dawn of the twentieth century (1910-17).  Regrettably, I had to jettison this project when word came on the eve of my departure for Mexico of a work in progress by a notable French historian on this very topic.[5]

To my rescue came an American socialist and muckraking journalist, John Kenneth Turner.  His 1909 serialized exposé of dictator Porfirio Díaz’s brutal persecution of the Yaqui Indians of northwestern Mexico bordering on genocide was credited with turning U.S. public opinion against the regime, hence helping the Mexican revolutionaries topple the long Díaz dictatorship of thirty-four years in 1911.   Turner focused on one particularly cruel episode, the deportation of thousands of Yaqui families from their homes in the northern borderland state of Sonora to the henequen plantations of the southern borderlands of the Yucatán.[6]  I resolved to write the history of this indomitable people who resisted loss of land, autonomy and identity for over four hundred years.

In Mexico City, I affiliated with a new experiment in graduate education in Mexico and Latin America, the private graduate institute unpretentiously named El Colegio de México, which admitted students from Mexico and all over Latin America.  I was immediately swept up by the first ever graduate program in East Asian Studies anywhere in Latin America, the Centro de Estudios Orientales,[7] which initiated the teaching of Mandarin Chinese and Japanese.  As a native speaker though with no formal education in Chinese, I was deemed sufficiently qualified to teach fundamental spoken Chinese.  In addition, I was called upon to teach some conversational Mandarin to the wife and children of the first Mexican ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) when Mexican president Luis Echeverría became one of the first world leaders to call for the recognition of the PRC as China.

Crowning my experience during the year I conducted research for my dissertation in 1971 was the surreal experience of being called to perform the role of Mexico’s interpreter when the Mexican Olympic Committee hosted one of the first ever sports event with the PRC.  This was the playfully labeled “ping-pong diplomacy” that China used to announce the end of its isolation, which in turn signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War.  The remnant of Mexico City’s once vibrant Chinese immigrant community came out of the shadows to glance at their countrymen, timid young men and women athletes in Mao garb chaperoned by older Communist Party cadres.

I, too, had my first glimpse of representatives of a new China I had never known.  I realized then that the reason I was hired was because, apparently, I was the only person in all Mexico then who could manage Mandarin and Spanish, as the Chinese immigrant community was all Cantonese-speaking, having missed the introduction of putonghua (common language, adapted from Mandarin) as China’s lingua franca when the Communists took power in 1949.  I was not in China either during this time, but learned to speak Mandarin from my Beijing-educated parents.

A few years later, when I visited then KMT-controlled Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan, I was detained at the airport for interrogation.  It turned out that the government agents simply wanted to terrify me a bit since they knew I had consorted in Mexico with “Communist bandits,” a common ROC slander of people from the PRC.   Then they let me go, as I was traveling with my U.S. passport.

The point of recalling these experiences jammed into one eventful year in Mexico is to note their impact on my subsequent professional life and career.  To be sure, I gathered rich and copious material for my dissertation on almost 500 years of history of the Yaqui people, who are today divided into two nationalities, Mexican and American, bestride the U.S.-Mexico border. The end result was an 800-page manuscript that eventually became four books, one in Spanish.[8]  These books secured my career with tenure at Washington University in St. Louis, making me the first woman and person of color to be tenured in the History Department, and Full Professorship before I turned forty at the University of Colorado at Boulder, after a short stint at the City University of New York Bronx campus and the Graduate Center.   While in St. Louis, I had three babies, without a single day of maternity leave; such a policy was not warranted because, the university explained, it could only benefit women.

Chapter 5: During my fourteen years at Colorado, which took me to the end of the twentieth century, my academic focus took up where I left off research on the Yaquis in one sense, but in another way broke path in a new  direction, that of Asians in Latin America and the Caribbean.  While researching the history of the Yaqui struggle against the Mexican state in northern Mexico and the borderlands with the United States, I encountered many references to Chinese immigrants in their midst, hundreds of whom met violent deaths in the throes of rebellion and revolution.  Just as I was moved by muckraking journalist John Kenneth Turner’s account of Yaqui deportation from their homeland to an alien place far away, so I was captivated by the story of how and why Chinese immigrants arrived on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands during the late nineteenth century and crossed paths with Yaqui rebels and Mexican revolutionaries.   Of course, it did not take long to figure out that the same Cantonese-speaking Chinese from the Pearl River Delta of Guangzhou province who had flocked to California to mine gold, develop agriculture, and build the transcontinental railroad had chosen northern Mexico as a destination from the 1880s onward in response to the xenophobic Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which barred further entry of Chinese laborers to the United States.

It dawned on me that the subject of Chinese migration to Latin America and the Caribbean beckoned to me because I was looking for it: it gave me the opportunity to return to my roots, my cultural heritage.  It further strengthened my resolve to devote my commitment and skills as a professional historian to research and write about what Eric Wolf has so beautifully and simply framed as “people without history,”[9] which I have adopted as my guiding light.  While seemingly divergent, the histories of the Yaqui people and Chinese migrants actually come together, in separate and intertwined ways, to illuminate themes of peasants, workers, refugees, and immigrants; of exile, displacement, diaspora; of identities lost and re-invented; of persecution and resilience; of empire, colonialism, and decolonization; of borders and borderlands; of globalization and localization; of autonomy and accommodation; of physical and cultural survival; of peoples without history.

I realized I was drawn to write history as narratives and of the people who drive them.  Shortly after I published my first book on the Yaquis, I was invited to give a lecture at the University of Arizona with its established exile community of Yaquis who had fled persecution in Mexico since the late nineteenth century.  An audience member came up to let me know that the history I recounted was not how his people, the Arizona Yaquis, would have told their story but that possibly I was a Yaqui in my previous life; I took that as a back-handed compliment.  Another time, after a lecture at Humboldt State University in northern California, three young men who identified themselves as Yaquis thanked me for helping them recover a history they had not learned; they were especially grateful to hear the names of warriors and leaders that were no longer stored in the community’s memory.

In 2002, just after 9/11, we moved from the University of Colorado at Boulder to Brown University, from an idyllic public university nestled in the foothills of the Flatirons that operates like a private one in many ways, to a private institution whose students nurture a purposefully progressive self-image.  Brown hired me to develop the new interdisciplinary field of Ethnic Studies, the department that I had set up at Boulder to encompass research and teaching in Black Studies, Chicano Studies,[10] American Indian Studies, and Asian American Studies.  As a Latin Americanist who led the way to research, document, and narrate the histories of Asian diasporas in the hemisphere, as a scholar of indigenous peoples and indigeneity on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, as a teacher of Mexican migration to the U.S., and of Afro-Asian interaction and intimacies, I have pushed the study of race and ethnicity in America to embrace all the Americas, to be relational, comparative, hemispheric, and transnational.

Ethnic Studies is fundamentally a grassroots academic project to understand power from the perspective of peoples without history, in marked contrast to the top down Area-Studies academic project that was originally conceived at the height of the Cold War in order to stem the decline of American empire.  My vision brought the two academic fields to interact and intersect with each other, a goal shared by some scholars of my generation and mostly embraced by younger generations of scholars, many of whom are immigrants or children of immigrants, and of mixed race heritage.

Chapter 6.  The story of how my historian’s craft evolved has reached the last chapter.  My life from an early age on has required or enabled me to make decisions that, in retrospect, seemed to have followed a fairly consistent trajectory.  By the time I received my Ph.D. in Latin American history and landed a tenure-track position at a prestigious private university, Washington University in St. Louis, in 1974, even my skeptical parents were beginning to think it was not such a bizarre career move after all. When I embarked upon the long-term project of researching and writing the history of Chinese migration and Chinese communities in Latin America, my retired father even helped me chase down sources in Chinese, and, behind my back, submitted my articles to be translated and published in China.[11]

One year ago, in 2019, the community of professional historians in Mexico, the Academia Mexicana de Historia, voted me in as an International Fellow; I take the honor to mean that my counterparts in Mexico recognize the significance of my work on both the Yaqui Nation and the Chinese diaspora in Mexico and Latin America.

At exactly the same time, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) named me Centennial Fellow in the Dynamics of Place, a senior fellowship to support my proposal to write a book on “The Chinese in the Spanish Empire, from Manila in the Sixteenth Century to Cuba in the Nineteenth Century.”  I am to bring together two global histories is my vision.  One is that of the Spanish Empire, the first global empire that spanned the globe from the Atlantic world of Europe and Africa to America, then across the Pacific to China, Japan and the Indian Ocean.  The other global phenomenon tracks the mobility of millions of Chinese migrants crossing multiple borders by land and sea to reach and settle every corner of the world.  These two worlds intersected from the mid-sixteenth century through the end of the nineteenth.[12]

In 1565, Spaniards from Mexico (New Spain, Spain’s premier American colony) crossed the Pacific to Las Filipinas, bringing prodigious amounts of American silver (mined in colonial Mexico and Peru) to trade for even more prodigious amounts of Chinese silk, porcelain, and other beautiful manufactured commodities with Chinese traders who quickly flocked to Manila, along with merchants from Japan and across the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia. By century’s end, the first Chinese community was well established in Manila, and comprised of 20 to 30,000 mainly Hokkien-speakers from coastal southern Fujian province.  It was the first large and permanent Chinese overseas Chinese community, that is, the first that was located beyond China’s border in the territorial space of a foreign political entity.

In short, it launched the first wave of the Chinese diaspora,[13] soon spreading to the island of Formosa, later Taiwan (initially contested by the Spaniards and Dutch, both of whom were driven out by Hokkien Chinese themselves) and throughout the Dutch and British empires of Southeast Asia.  The Manila Chinese community was violently cut down and driven back to China in 1603 by fearful and resentful Spaniards.  Soon, however, new Chinese immigrants arrived to resume the lucrative trade with Mexican merchants, and so while this pattern of conviviencia (conviviality or accommodation) and violence repeated itself sporadically, the community survived, in part by actively mixing with native Filipinos to form a mestizo population.

In Spanish, there is one word, the same word, for frontier and border: la frontera.  Manila was the westernmost frontier of the Spanish empire, an extension of Mexico and Las Indias Occidentales (West Indies); it was also the Spanish border with China.  The trans-Pacific Manila Galleon trade continued until the dawn of the nineteenth century, when Mexico successfully won independence from Spain, which kept Las Filipinas on as a colony for almost another century.  In addition to luxury goods, the galleons carried the first Asian immigrants across the Pacific to America, centuries before the mid-nineteenth century California gold rush which is usually credited with attracting the first Asians to America.[14]

If Manila constituted a bookend at the dawn of the Spanish Empire, Cuba provided a bookend at the twilight of Empire.  From the mid-nineteenth century and for twenty-five years, almost 125, 000 Chinese men were transported to Cuba under eight-year contracts to supplement a dwindling African slave labor force in the sugar plantations.   As already noted in the case of Chinese migrants to Mexico (and throughout the Americas) most of the ‘coolies’ were Cantonese-speakers recruited from the Pearl River Delta.  They enabled Cuban planters to maintain high levels of sugar production during the second half of the nineteenth century, until pro-Independence rebels, including hundreds of Chinese fighters (some, apparently, veterans of China’s Taiping Rebellion), finally succeeded in breaking the chains of Spanish colonialism at the very end of the nineteenth century, which also dealt the final blow to slavery.

As contract laborers from Asia, the Chinese in Cuba were neither slaves nor free, neither black nor white.  So how did they fit into Cuba’s labor history, and in its racial hierarchy?  How did their presence in a socially and racially bifurcated society constitute an intervention in the definition of freedom in Cuba?  How did the Chinese during and after their contracts see their place in Cuban society?  Slave or free, Africans and Asians in Cuba formed inter-racial hybridities and created inter-cultural religious and social practices.   To sum up this book project, at the front and back end of the vast Spanish Empire that spanned the Atlantic and the Pacific, and which endured for four hundred years, the Chinese were always present, a people without history waiting to be remembered in the context of the Spanish Empire.

We know that history is replete with peoples without history, so it is easy to see that the work of history is never done.  Among the duties of the historians’ craft is to identify hidden, lost, or marginalized histories, ask the right questions, find the correct framing, search for data, and center the perspective in writing up the narrative.  For myself, having received the entirety of my education in the United States, though mindful of many border crossings in my life and work, I continually feel the need to combat intellectual parochialism by broadening my horizon.  During my career, I have sought and accepted opportunities to lecture and teach at universities in the Asia-Pacific (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Australia), in Latin America and Caribbean (Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Cuba) and in Europe (Spain, Italy, UK).

In addition to English, I have lectured in Spanish and in Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese.  These international and intercultural experiences have put me in contact with colleagues and students who have different worldviews and approaches to scholarship, who may work under disparate access to resources and under certain academic constraints.  I also learned to read and appreciate their scholarship written in languages other than English, and published my work in journals and books that are not edited in the United States.  I have published my own work in several languages and countries, in order to disseminate them to a wider audience, particularly to peoples and communities that I write about.[15]  I even have an essay on Yaqui deportation published in the Zoque Mayan language as resource material for Mayan-speaking rural public school teachers in Chiapas (southern Mexico) to teach about the history of indigenous resistance across Mexico in their own Mayan language.[16]

I sense, but in ways I cannot exactly measure, that I have had an impact on scholarship. After my books on the Yaquis, many more have followed, written by historians, anthropologists, ethnographers, cultural studies and literary scholars, producing innovative new scholarship way beyond what I could have imagined.  Similarly, academic work (books, dissertations, journal articles, documentaries) on the Chinese in Latin America and Caribbean is proliferating and breaking new grounds.  I am mentoring my own graduate students at Brown University as well as being consulted by Ph.D. students at several other universities writing dissertations on the hidden histories of Chinese and other Asians in the trans-Pacific and the Caribbean of the trans-Atlantic.

My book on the Chinese in the Spanish Empire now awaits my full attention.  As with everyone in the world, I am also awaiting the end of the pandemic, humbled and enraged by the cruelty it has inflicted on the most vulnerable among us, the social and racial disparities it has exposed, and price we pay for not selecting good leaders and insisting on transparent politics, and for not respecting science and the many warnings about global warming.  In the United States, we must accept the imperative of addressing racial injustice; in the world, we must acknowledge the underside of globalization.  There will be many more histories of “people without history” awaiting our attention.


Evelyn Hu-DeHart is Professor of History, American Studies and Ethnic Studies at Brown University.



[1] I have kept the common historic rendition of these names, the Kuomintang (KMT) and its leader, Chiang Kai-shek, rather than using the pinyin version of their names.

[2] My father read English proficiently and wrote Chinese beautifully.  As a contract translator, he wrote stories in Chinese about important figures of American high-brow popular culture, such as Marian Anderson and George Gershwin.  He was also paid to write the Chinese biography of anti-communist, pro-American Filipino guerrilla fighter turned president Ramon Magsaysay.

[3] “The Good Immigrant” is the title of Madeline Hsu’s acclaimed history of postwar Chinese immigrants to the U.S. (Princeton University Press, 2015); my family of five posing on the airplane ramp along with a few other families grace the cover of the book, thanks to Professor Hsu who discovered this photo in the National Archives and connected it to my family.

[4] Much later in life, I would learn that I was not the only student at that moment to receive special consideration in admission to elite universities.  Two individuals of my age cohort attended Yale and Harvard at the same time, with lower SAT scores in both math and English, despite being native born Americans of privilege who had graduated from prestigious private prep schools.  The point of the story is that we were all beneficiaries of preferences, but I am the only one to have publicly acknowledged mine, while the other two are probably clueless to this day. I graduated from Stanford in 1968 as the outstanding woman graduate, recipient of the Dinkelspiel Award in recognition of my academic achievement and service to the university, and went on to a gratifying academic career.  Of the two white males: one became a U.S. president and another a vice president.  I suppose we all made the best of what we had to work with!

[5] The book was shortly published:  Jean Meyer, La Cristiada (Mexico:  Siglo Veintiuno, 1974).

[6] After serialization, several editions of a book was published:  John Kenneth Turner, Barbarous Mexico (Chicago and London: Charles H. Kerr and Co., 1911).

[7] Today the center has expanded its scope, and is now the Centro de Estudios sobre Asia y África del Norte (CEAAN).

[8] Evelyn Hu-DeHart, Missionaries, Miners, and Indians: History of Spanish Contact with the Yaqui Indians of Northwestern New Spain, 1533-1833 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2017 [1981]); Hu-DeHart Yaqui Resistance and Survival: Struggle for Land and Autonomy, 1821-1910, 2nd ed. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2016 [1984]); Hu-DeHart Adaptación y Resistencia en el Yaquimi: los Yaquis durante la colonia.  Colección de Historia de los pueblos indígenas de México (México, D.F.: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 1995 (in the “Collection of Histories of  Indigenous peoples of Mexico” series edited by Teresa Rojas Rabiela, winner of the Best Book Prize at the 1995 Guadalajara Book Fair, Mexico).  In addition, I have published numerous journal articles and book chapters on the Yaquis in English, Spanish and Chinese, and continue to lecture on the topic.

[9] Eric R. Wolf, Europe and the People Without History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982).  Cuban historian Juan Pérez de la Riva has a similar turn of words to describe his life work on the history of the Chinese in Cuba: historia del pueblo sin historia.

[10] I am not using the newly created term “Chicanx” here in part because it was not invented yet at the time that I helped develop the program at Colorado, and in part because I have reservations about imposing an Anglicized grammatical intervention on the Spanish language to neuter its gendered grammar.

[11] Years after he did it, I found that that my father had translated this article in Chinese and submitted it for publication in a prominent Chinese academic journal in Beijing:  Hu-Dehart, “Immigrants to a Developing Society. The Chinese in Northern Mexico, 1975-1932,” Journal of Arizona History 21 (Autumn 1980): 49-85.  Translated into Chinese, published in Overseas Chinese History Studies, #4 (1988), 43-50 (Beijing, China).  Chinese title:  移民与发展中的社会——墨西哥北部的华人.

[12] Other European empires—the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British, the French, and the American empire of the United States —have also interacted intensely with Chinese immigrants and descendants, whose presence in their imperial spaces was the result of  labor recruitment,  large and small-scale trade opportunities, and  limited roles in the administration of colonies with large native populations.

[13] By now, the term “diaspora” has appeared several times in this essay.  It is a common term applied to large-scale migration and dispersal of people from one origin to many destinations outside the homeland.  Historically in academic work, it has been applied primarily to Jewish history, then to African slavery, followed by naming the Chinese, Lebanese, Italians, Indians, Japanese and myriad other population movements across time and space.

[14] Of this early Asian migration across the Pacific from the late sixteenth through the seventeenth century, historians do not have good precise information on their ethnic backgrounds, native place origins, or numbers.  Most were probably native peoples of the big Filipino island of Luzón (where Manila is located); there were some Japanese (persecuted Catholics fleeing persecution in Japan) and ethnic Chinese of Manila, but their numbers did not appear significant.  Asian immigrants were generically recorded in colonial documents as “indios,” “chinos,” “indios chinos,” and “chinos de Manila” to distinguish them from the “indios” or native peoples of the Americas.  Japanese were clearly noted as “de nación Japón” and ethnic Chinese were known as “sangley” from the Hokkien word for “trader” or the phrase “come and go frequently”—a matter that is still debated.

[15] Some of my essays published outside the United States include: Hu-DeHart: “From Slavery to Freedom:  Chinese Coolies on the Sugar Plantations in Nineteenth Century Cuba,” Labour History 113 (November 2017): 31-51; Hu-DeHart, “Through Spanish Eyes: The Fujianese Community of Manila During the Late Ming/Early Qing Period.”  Asian Culture 35 (July 2011): 1-13; Hu-DeHart, “Yellow Peril, Model Minority, Honorary White, Tiger Nation: Chinese in America, Global China and the United States,” in Joaquin Beltrán, Francisco Javier Haro y Amelia Sáiz, eds., Representaciones de China en las Américas y en la Peninsular Ibérica (Barcelona, Ediciones Bellaterra, 2016); Hu-DeHart, “Chinese Immigrants to Latin America and the Caribbean, with Special Attention to Mexico and Peru (in Chinese),” in Essays in Chinese Maritime History, vol. 5, ed. Pin-Tsun Chang and Shih-Chi Liu (Taipei: Academica Sinica, 1993); Hu-DeHart, “Opio y control social: culíes en las haciendas de Perú y Cuba.”  ISTOR:Revista de Historia Internacional (Mexico) VII:27:28-45 Winter 2006); Hu-DeHart, “La solución final: la expulsión de los Yaquis de su Sonora natal,” in Aaron Grageda, ed., Seis expulsiones y un adios. Despojo y exclusión de la historia del estado político en Sonora (Mexico: Plaza y Valdes Editores, 2003); Hu-DeHart, “Chinese Immigrants to Latin America and the Caribbean, With Special Attention to Mexico and Peru” (in Chinese),” in Pin-Tsun Chang and Shih-Chi Liu, eds., Essays in Chinese Maritime History, vol. 5, (Taipei: Academica Sinica, 1993); Hu-Dehart, Chinese Labor Migrants to the Americas in the Nineteenth Century: An Inquiry into Who They Were and the World They Left Behind.” Hsinya  Huang, ed., Chinese Railroad Workers in North America: Recovery and Representation. (Taipei: Bookman, 2017) (in Chinese:_胡其瑜。十九世紀移居美洲的中國移工:探究華工的身世與他們所離開的世)入黃心雅編《鐵路華工:歷史、文學與視覺再現》。台北:書林出版).

[16] Hu-DeHart, “Rebelión Campesina en el Noroeste: Los Indios Yaquis de Sonora, 1740-1976,” in Jacinto Arias Pérez, ed., El Arreglo de los Pueblos Indios: La Incansable Tarea de Reconstitución. Bilingual Spanish and Zoque Mayan edition (Chiapas: Instituto Chiapaneco de Cultura, Secretaría de Educación Pública, 1994).