Each of these epigrams is from an exemplary work of primary research. While not entirely exclusive—potential for overlap appears in the ideas of “mutual development” and “transfer” of culture—they each exemplify different research agendas that result in competing narratives of Chinese migration. Sucheng Chan's work is part of a larger project of contemporary Asian American studies to incorporate Chinese as important actors in American history. It emphasizes the adaptations of Chinese social organization in the United States, and explains them as necessary and unprecedented responses to unfamiliar challenges. Although Chan pays more attention than many Asian American historians to Chinese nationalism, transnational families, and continued links to China, she does not follow the implications of these descriptions so far as to reformulate her narrative of migration as a monodirectional relocation followed by locally conditioned transformation (see also S. Chan 1991, 63–66,96–97; 1990). In their most extremely America-centered versions, Asian American histories have treated these extra-American phenomena as little more than byproducts of exclusion and racism, and denounced the idea of the temporary Chinese sojourner as an orientalist construction (A. Chan 1981).

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