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"Becoming Chinese in Montana," Speaker Examines Montana's Chinese History Through a Global Lens


August 26, 2017

“Becoming Chinese in Montana,” Speaker Examines Montana’s Chinese History Through a Global Lens

Montana Tech and the Mai Wah Society will sponsor a presentation by Mark Johnson, a Fellow with the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives. Johnson’s lecture, titled “Becoming Chinese in Montana: The Chinese Empire Reform Association and National Identity among Montana’s Chinese Communities,” will take place on Thursday, May 4, 2017, at 4:00 p.m. in Montana Tech’s Chemistry and Biology Building, Room 101.

That Montana had a large Chinese population in the late-19th Century is well known. However, often analysis of this community focuses solely on their challenges and contributions in the American West, paying little attention to the transnational nature of the Chinese experience. By understanding Montana’s Chinese pioneers through a global lens, they can be seen as active and engaged participants who used the skills gained through their time in the American West to work for self-improvement and to strengthen a severely weakened China they had temporarily left but never forgotten.

 In his role with the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives, Mark Johnson trains graduate students in education who serve in under-resourced Catholic schools in high poverty areas across the United States. Previously, Johnson taught for almost a decade in China. In this role, Johnson brought students with the necessary language ability to Montana to translate large collections of documents from the state’s early Chinese communities, helping to tell the story of the Chinese in Montana in their own words (see http://montanachinese.org/ for details of these projects).

 Johnson’s presentation is part of the Montana Tech Public Lecture Series.