Fighting the Tigers: Chinese Mobility as Resistance During the Exclusion Era

Author(s): Todd J. Braje; Linda Bentz

Year: 2015


During the mid-nineteenth century, Chinese and many other immigrants flooded California’s shores in pursuit of economic opportunities. Over the next several decades, Chinese labor became threatening to national, Euro-American interests and federal and state governments passed a variety of taxes, ordinances, and legislation targeting Chinese communities. The most restrictive of these were the Chinese Exclusion and Geary acts, which barred immigration by Chinese laborers and severely limited their mobility patterns. Through ingenuity and active resistance, however, Chinese settlers frequently traveled between the West and their homeland and found ways to circumvent racist regulations. Employing historical documents, immigration files, and archaeological surveys and excavations, we present a case study of Chinese fishermen who lived in Santa Barbara, circa 1880 to 1915, that illustrates how these fishers skirted exclusion laws and successfully carved out economic opportunities at the margins of American society.

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Cite this Record

Fighting the Tigers: Chinese Mobility as Resistance During the Exclusion Era. Linda Bentz, Todd J. Braje. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395242)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;