Moving Portrayal of Chinese Canadians in New Book

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BRANDON, MB – A Brandon University professor, internationally acclaimed for research into racism and immigration, has published a new book about the Chinese families who settled the Canadian Prairies in the late 1800s, and their stories of resilience and resourcefulness.

Cultivating Connections: The Making of Chinese Prairie Canada, is the result of nearly a decade of research and more than three hundred interviews by Dr. Alison Marshall, Department of Religion at Brandon University (BU).

Alison Marshall, BU Depat of Religion (web), 2014“These stories reveal the critical importance of networks,” says Dr. Marshall, “of belonging within these communities, in coping with experiences of racism, and ultimately establishing a successful life on the Prairies.”

In the late 1870s, thousands of Chinese men left coastal British Columbia and the western United States and headed east, bound for what they saw as a land of opportunity. In communities across the Canadian Prairies, they would open shops and potentially earn enough money to marry.

“In Cultivating Connections, Dr. Marshall has created a remarkably intimate and moving portrayal of the lives of these settlers,” says Paul Crowe, Director of the David Lam Centre, Simon Fraser University. “Through that intimacy, she draws out the nuances of relationships that helped them negotiate often hostile circumstances.”

BookCoverBU’s Vice-President (Academic and Provost), Dr. Heather Duncan, says “ By gathering these personal stories, Dr. Marshall has added a new dimension to prairie history, and provided insight into the strength and resilience of the Chinese families who survived through hard times and prospered.”

Dr. Marshall will launch Cultivating Connections, her second book, in Vancouver on September 17, Toronto on November 7, and in Winnipeg and Brandon at later dates.

Brandon University, founded in 1899, promotes excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; educating students so that they can make a meaningful difference as engaged citizens and leaders.



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