Thesis

Foodways and Chinese Ways: A Zooarchaeological Analysis of the San Luis Obispo Chinatown

Purpose of the Study:
 This study interprets how ethnic identity was negotiated through foodways by Chinese migrants and their American born children at the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Chinatown during the late 19th to early 20th Centuries. The interpretation refers to themes of fluid identity, homeland memory, and the material culture associated with food and preparation.
 Procedure:
 A faunal analysis was conducted of the Feature 19 faunal assemblage associated with the Chong family. The faunal remains were interpreted with interviews from the original residents recalling their lives at the SLO Chinatown. The broader context of the Chinese diaspora was used to frame the interpretation of this site.
 Findings:
 The faunal material from this feature was found to consist mostly of Chinese-styles of butchering and cooking techniques. Instead of reflecting strictly traditional Chinese dietary habits as those seen in mainland China, the residents of the SLO Chinatown adapted their practices to satisfy their emotional and economic needs.
 Conclusions:
 The study found that while the foodways at the SLO Chinatown were related to traditional Chinese practices, the residents adapted their foodways according to their own interpretations of Chinese Ways. By allowing their concepts of Chinese heritage to remain fluid, the SLO Chinatown residents were able to negotiate a mixed multicultural identity during the Chinese Exclusion Era (1882-1943).

Purpose of the Study: This study interprets how ethnic identity was negotiated through foodways by Chinese migrants and their American born children at the San Luis Obispo (SLO) Chinatown during the late 19th to early 20th Centuries. The interpretation refers to themes of fluid identity, homeland memory, and the material culture associated with food and preparation. Procedure: A faunal analysis was conducted of the Feature 19 faunal assemblage associated with the Chong family. The faunal remains were interpreted with interviews from the original residents recalling their lives at the SLO Chinatown. The broader context of the Chinese diaspora was used to frame the interpretation of this site. Findings: The faunal material from this feature was found to consist mostly of Chinese-styles of butchering and cooking techniques. Instead of reflecting strictly traditional Chinese dietary habits as those seen in mainland China, the residents of the SLO Chinatown adapted their practices to satisfy their emotional and economic needs. Conclusions: The study found that while the foodways at the SLO Chinatown were related to traditional Chinese practices, the residents adapted their foodways according to their own interpretations of Chinese Ways. By allowing their concepts of Chinese heritage to remain fluid, the SLO Chinatown residents were able to negotiate a mixed multicultural identity during the Chinese Exclusion Era (1882-1943).

Relationships

Items