This book is about the Chinese Six Companies in California and their policies and strategies to counter racism, from organizing its own community and developing modern nationalism, to teaching the Qing dynasty how modern nationalism should be pursued through diplomatic means. Focusing on the period before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the book explores how the Six Companies, also known as the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, resisted the anti-Chinese movement and challenged the discrimination they faced in the United States. It shows how the Six Companies, which began as huiguan (native-place associations), exerted a major influence in generating the nationalist turn of China’s approach to foreign relations in the nineteenth century. The book argues that the Six Companies’ transnational experience is intertwined with the histories of China, Sino-American relations, and Chinese Americans in the nineteenth century. It also examines the culturalism-to-nationalism thesis and emphasizes the significance of the transition from attachment to native place to nationalism in nineteenth-century America.
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