University of Minnesota
Digitizing Immigrant Letters

Reports of activities from the DIL network members:

CONFERENCE REPORT: Letters & Migration

December 2011

Li Yang
International Conference on Chinese Immigrant Letters and Remittances, Wuyi University, Guangzhou, China, December  5-12, 2011.

In December 5-12, 2011, I attended an International Conference on Chinese Immigrant letters and Remittances in Guangzhou, China upon the invitation of the Wuyi University of Guangdong Province. The latter also funded my trip.
The conference gathered together scholars from China and the U.S.A., as well as three UNESCO officers, including Mr. Edmondson (Australia), Dr.  Abhakorn (Thailand) and Mr. Simon Chu (Hong Kong), to discuss and appraise the value of immigrant letters and remittances sent home by overseas Chinese in the collections of the local archives and elsewhere.   Thirteen attendees among a total of approximately 50 participants gave presentations. My presentation was about “Paper Sons and Chain Migration, Immigration Strategies of the Gin Clan in Tucson, Arizona during the Chinese Exclusion Era.”  My research drew upon such primary sources as the Chinese immigrant letters housed in the University of Arizona Library Special Collections. The conference was sponsored by Guangdong Provincial Archives and Records Administration in an attempt to apply for UNESCO’s recognition of such documents on its Memory of the World International Register, thereby calling upon the preservation of these valuable archive holdings in their collections.

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