Pacific Coast Chinese Leaders’ Management of the Chicago School of Sociology
In 1924, Robert Park, a sociologist from the University of Chicago, directed a study that asked: Were Asians more like blacks or whites? To find the answer, Anglo American researchers interviewed Chinese from British Columbia to California, starting with Vancouver, Canada. West Coast Chinese felt that Park’s answer could not be left to chance, so they mobilized the Chinese community to steer the researchers in a specific direction. Brokers hoped to win white scholars’ sympathy as well as to turn the power of social science against anti-Chinese policies. Chinese regarded the study as a battle of wits, a battle that the researchers did not know they were fighting. This meeting would help shape a pivotal set of ideas about immigration and race that would become known as the Chicago School of Sociology.
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