Pluralism and Labor in Overseas Chinese Railroad Camps

Author(s): John Molenda

Year: 2014


How do issues of labor and pluralism show up in communities from non-Western backgrounds? How is archaeological interpretation transformed when pluralism is built into, and articulated in, the dominant intellectual traditions of the people being studied? And how can archaeological investigations take into account labor in its varied relations with sociality and emotionality?In this paper I describe how Overseas Chinese laborers along the first transcontinental railroad were drawn into capitalist labor relations without being defined by them. Using the comparative method, I draw out three broad, interrelated contrasts: relational personhood and possessive individualism; money and capital; and finally, filiality and wage labor.

Cite this Record

Pluralism and Labor in Overseas Chinese Railroad Camps. John Molenda. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437120)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-58,06