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Migrant Letters: The Chinese and Mexican Experience

This symposium will explore what letters of Mexican and Chinese migrants voice about their stories in California’s history of migration.

October 13, 2018 9:30am to 3:00pm

What do the letters of Mexican and Chinese migrants voice about their stories in California’s history of migration?  A symposium co-sponsored by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West and The Huntington Library will explore this question by examining twentieth-century Mexican and Chinese migrant letters as sources in writing this history.  Besides this important question, the symposium also seeks to highlight, as well as to understand, historian José Orozco’s important—and poignant—declaration that migrant letters are “the quieter affirmations of humanity, those simple exchanges …  expressions of love … scribbled in ink that fades, written on paper that yellows.”


Opening Remarks (9:30am-9:45am): William F. Deverell (Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West)

Session I (9:45am-10:30am): Why this Symposium? Thoughts on collecting migrant letters.

• Li Wei Yang (Huntington Curator of Pacific Rim Collections) 

• Clay Stalls (Curator of California and Hispanic Collections)

Break (10:30am-10:45am)

Session II (10:45am-noon): Mexican Migrant Letters
Moderator: Clay Stalls
• Miroslava Chávez-García (University of California, Santa Barbara) 
• José Orozco (Whittier College)
• Romeo Guzmán (Fresno State)

Lunch (noon-1pm)

Session III (1pm-2:15pm): Chinese Migrant Letters 
Moderator: Li Wei Yang
• Sue Fawn Chung (University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
• Haimung Liu (Cal Poly Pomona)
• Susie Lan Cassel (California State University, San Marcos)

Break (2:15pm-2:30pm)

Wrap-Up: Comments and Observations (2:30pm-3pm): Natalia Molina (University of California, San Diego)

Registration $25; free for students and Huntington research fellows. Lunch included (please add separately during registration).

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$25, students free w/ID (lunch included)