'Lisa Mar has written a history from neither above nor below, but from the middle. Her account of Chinese Canadian immigrant brokers during the exclusion era shows an active world of politics taking place 'off stage,' in patronage deals made in the back rooms of political parties, law offices, and in the Chinese-language press. This is a fascinating study that changes the way we think about Chinese immigrant communities and the ways in which power operates.' (Mae M. Ngai, Columbia University)
'Lisa Mar's work uncovers the complex political and social life in Vancouver's Chinese community to a depth that goes beyond earlier scholarship. Mar's ability to follow the lives of the 'brokers' who could operate both in Chinese and English language worlds-tracing their ability to translate and represent each side to the other and to take advantage of their advantageous position as go-betweens-gives us insights into the complicated world of political deal-making and betrayal that almost no other scholar has been able to achieve.' (Henry Yu, author of Thinking Orientals: Migration, Contact, and Exoticism in Modern America
reinscribes general scholarship concerning ethnicity and immigration with the adventures of politically adroit, transnational yet highly acculturated Chinese Canadian 'brokers' who successfully strategized for greater access and rights on behalf of an otherwise legally and ideologically marginal minority population. Despite the inherent contradictions between their roles as advocates, interpreters, and influence peddlers, Mar persuasively argues that brokers made it possible for even small immigrant groups to sink roots into hostile soil.' (Madeline Y. Hsu, University of Texas at Austin)
‘This is a groundbreaking book in Chinese Canadian History and in the history of global Chinese diaspora. It challenges conventional perceptions of Chinese relations with the mainstream society in Canada… sheds new light on the transnational connections of community leaders in Canadian Chinatowns.’ (Zhongping Chen BC Studies, Spring 2012
’The role of brokers is brilliantly demonstrated in her groundbreaking account of immigration under the head tax regulations of the early twentieth century.’ (Timothy J. Stanley Canadian Historical review, vol93:02:2012
About the Author
Lisa Rose Mar
is an associate professor in the Department of History and the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Maryland, College Park.