Survival and Loss: A Joint Discussion of Los Angeles and San Francisco Chinatowns Event is Located in Los Angeles

Thursday, March 7, 2019 6:30PM

Survival and Loss: A Joint Discussion of Los Angeles and San Francisco Chinatowns
<em>Event is Located in Los Angeles</em>
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This event is located at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 North Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012

Join California Historical Society and the Chinese American Museum at our host venue, LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes for a panel discussion on the dual creation, maintenance, preservation, and future of Los Angeles and San Francisco’s Chinatowns. Moderated by UC Riverside Associate Professor of History and Director of the Public History Program, Catherine Gudis, we will explore with historians, advocates, artists, and media specialists how these two Chinatowns emerged, were threatened, survived, and thrived. We will also consider possible futures for both as well as posit how we all can better celebrate and support these two historic spaces.

After the panel, join us at the Chinese American Museum for light snacks and a special evening viewing of their exhibitions.

Meet our Moderator:

Cathy Gudis is Associate Professor of History and Director of UC Riverside’s Public History Program. She has worked for over twenty years with art and history museums, in historic preservation, and on multi-platform, place-based projects that focus on Southern California and explore how public space is privatized, landscapes racialized, and inequalities of access sustained. She co-founded two collectives: Project 51, whose Play the LA River urges Angelinos to reclaim the L.A. River as public space, and the Bureau of Goods Transport, a clearinghouse to explore the history and import of logistics from the LA Ports to the Inland Empire. Currently, Cathy is piloting the Relevancy & History Project partnership between UCR and California State Parks, aimed to foster community engagement and co-produce more inclusive historical interpretation. The author of Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Landscape (Routledge, 2004) and coedited anthologies and articles on visual culture, Cathy is working on a book entitled Skid Row, By Design: History, Community, and Activism in Downtown L.A.

About our Panelists:

Nayan Shah is Professor of American Studies & Ethnicity and History at the University of Southern California. He is a historian with expertise U.S. and Canadian immigration, public health, law and Asian American political, social and cultural movements. Professor Shah wrote two award-winning books, Stranger Intimacy: Contesting Race, Sexuality and the Law in the North American West (University of California Press, 2011) and Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown (University of California Press, 2001). He has worked with the National Park Service, Angel Island Foundation and the New York Historical Society to preserve, interpret and convey the history of Asian Americans. To learn more about his research projects and publications visit

Eddie Wong was one of the founders of Visual Communications where he directed the documentary films Wong Sinsaang, Pieces of a Dream, and Chinatown Two-Step. He served as Executive Director of NAATA/Center for Asian American Media from 1996 to 2006 and was the Executive Producer of Kelly Loves Tony and the series Searching for Asian America for PBS.

He later became the Executive Director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation (AIISF) and produced several short video profiles of immigrants who were detained at Angel Island. In 2014, he served as Guest Curator for the Smithsonian Institution’s Asian Pacific American Center’s “A Day in the Life of Asian Pacific America,” an online photo and video exhibition. His article “Broken Blossoms – Four Chinese Women and Their Journey from Slavery to Freedom” was published as the cover story in Prologue, the magazine of the National Archives, in Spring 2016.

He is currently co-curating “At First Light: The Dawn of Asian Pacific America,” a retrospective of Visual Communications first 20 years of documentary work in still photography, film, and video. The exhibit will be on display at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles from May 25, 2019 to October 20, 2019.

Steven Wong was born in the City of Angeles at Queen of Angels Hospital, a place that no longer exists. He is currently a curator at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park. Previously he was the Interim Executive Director and the senior staff curator at the Chinese American Museum where he developed and implemented both contemporary art and history exhibitions. Steven has lectured at UC Santa Barbara and was an adjunct professor at Ventura College and Pasadena City College in Asian American Studies, History and Art Studio Departments. Since 2001 Steven has been collecting vintage postcards primarily depicting Los Angeles’ Chinatown and has amassed over 300 postcards; some of which he has transformed into art and public engagement projects over the years. Steven holds a Masters in Asian American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (1998) and a Master in Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara (2000).

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu is a professor and chair of the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine. She received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford University and previously taught for seventeen years at Ohio State University. She authored Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: the Life of a Wartime Celebrity (University of California Press, 2005) and Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (Cornell University Press, 2013). Her current book project, a collaboration with political scientist Gwendolyn Mink, explores the political career of Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color U.S. congressional representative and the co-sponsor of Title IX. Wu also co-edited Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, 8th Edition (Oxford 2015), Gendering the Trans-Pacific World (Brill 2017), and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies (2012-2017). She also co-edits Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (Alexander Street Press).

Citation: Group_of_news_photographers_snapping_pictures_of_a_Chinese_man_dressed_as_a_coolie_ca1940. Digitally reproduced by the USC Digital Library; From the California Historical Society Collection at the University of Southern California

In partnership with the Chinese American Museum, the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes