Author (Your Name)

Nicholas KimFollow

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. History Dept.


Inga Diederich


In previous Asian American studies, authors largely focus on urban centers. In my thesis, I center rural Chinese American communities in early-twentieth century California in the making of the Chinese American identity. I argue that they, along with Chinese American food, acted as contact zones for Chinese and non-Chinese Americans. This paper covers a range of themes, including most prominently the connection between food and culture. I additionally address how Chinese American restaurants and food challenged perceptions of Chinese Americans as foreigners, their role in gender relations, and what we consider to be authentic. This paper largely uses archival newspaper articles from the early-twentieth century to illustrate my argument. I aim to reposition rural Chinese Americans in California, in conjunction with their restaurants and food, as integral parts of the American story. Chinese American restaurants and food played a crucial role in creating the Chinese immigrant identity as Chinese and American.


Chinese American, Food, Restaurants, California