I’m Charlotte Brooks, a professor at CUNY and a historian who has written extensively on Asian American history, especially Chinese American history. My research interests also include urban history, immigration, race, politics, the Chinese diaspora, and 20th century China. Over the past few years, I’ve published two books–Alien Neighbors, Foreign Friends: Asian Americans, Housing, and the Transformation of Urban California (University of Chicago Press, 2009) and Between Mao and McCarthy: Chinese American Politics in the Cold War Years (University of Chicago Press, 2015)–as well as numerous journal articles on these subjects.
Currently, I’m writing another book, tentatively titled Immigrants from America: The Chinese American Second Generation in China, 1900-1949. Between fifteen and twenty percent of all Chinese American citizens in the first half of the twentieth century left the United States for China under the assumption that they would never permanently return to the land of their birth. Immigrants from America explores this little-known aspect of modern Chinese and American history through the lives of the thousands of Chinese Americans who settled in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and the Pearl River Delta. My research on the topic has received coverage in the World Journal, the China Press, China Daily, and on CSPAN (please note that it hasn’t always been accurate coverage…).
Students in my classes often express surprise that Asian American history in New York predates by more than a century the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965. There is Asian American history in New York–lots of it–if you just know where to look. This website is my attempt to help my students (and anyone else who is interested) start looking in some of the right places.