This thesis explores the changing Chinese American identity through the changes to Chinese food. Understanding one's identity is a difficult task because of its abstract nature; using a concrete element such as food, makes this task far easier. This method of using food to describe the Chinese American identity is especially helpful because of the importance placed on food in Chinese culture. For the Chinese, food is central to their identity because it is believed that the correct intake of food achieves a balance in one's life. It is also helpful, because the Chinese restaurant in America is a common sight and many Americans' only exposure to Chinese culture. Through a study of the changing Chinese American identity from the Exclusion Era in America to the present and through a study of the changes of Chinese cuisine in America over the same period of time, we can see how these changes mirror one another and allow for an understanding of what is the Chinese American identity.


Graham, Mark


Chinese Studies; East Asian Studies


Asian American Studies | Chinese Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis Exemplar



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