Hybridity in Culture, Memory, and Politics

Chiou-Ling Yeh

in Making an American Festival

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520253506
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942431 | DOI:
Hybridity in Culture, Memory, and Politics

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The 1977 Chinese New Year Festival featured a Qing dynasty wedding procession. This cultural representation sparked a debate centered on the definition of Chinese American culture, as well as on who could determine what constituted that culture. This chapter focuses on the constellation of complex meanings behind various memories and narratives selected by Chinese Americans to express their identities. It explores several competing cultural productions that strove for authority in ethnic-identity formation. The rise of ethnic consciousness loosened the Chinese Chamber of Commerce's singular hold on the celebration and resulted in the growth of social service and political organizations. Beginning in 1975, the Chinese Culture Center began to host an alternative Chinese New Year celebration, the Spring Festival. Moreover, the changes in U.S. foreign policy not only compelled parade organizers to alter their transnational politics, but also transformed Chinatown's internal political dynamics.

Keywords: Chinese New Year; Chinatown; culture; Chinese Americans; ethnic identity; Chinese Culture Center; social service; political organizations; politics; Spring Festival

Chapter.  11138 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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