Brandon University religion Prof. Alison Marshall will launch the paperback version of her acclaimed book, “The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba” with a slideshow reading and book signing on the BU campus at noon on Tuesday. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Brandon University religion Prof. Alison Marshall will launch the paperback version of her acclaimed book, "The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement In Manitoba" with a slideshow, reading and book signing on the BU campus at noon on Tuesday.
Marshall’s book chronicles the history of Chinese settlement in western Manitoba with detailed information about early Chinese settlers in places such as Carberry, Neepawa, Baldur and Brandon, among others. It also features a preface written by Inky Mark, a former member of Parliament for Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette, whose family has lived in the region for 100 years.
The lives of early Japanese and Chinese settlers in British Columbia have come to define the Asian experience in Canada, Marshall says in a news release. Yet many men travelled beyond B.C. to settle in small Prairie towns and cities. Chinese bachelors opened the region’s first laundries and Chinese cafés.
They maintained ties to the old world and negotiated a place in the new by fostering a vibrant homosocial culture based on friendship, everyday religious practices, the example of Sun Yat-sen and the sharing of food.
This exploration of the intersection of gender and migration in rural Canada, in particular, offers new takes on the Chinese quest for identity in North America in general.
"‘The Way of the Bachelor’ is a beautiful, deeply moving portrait of the lived experience of Chinese immigrants in Manitoba," writes Michael Puett, author of "To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China," a view echoed by Paul Crowe, director of the David Lam Centre at Simon Fraser University.
"The harsh environment of the prairies and the paucity of population provided a unique social context for Chinese immigrants," Crowe writes. "Marshall provides an intimate and moving portrayal of the lives of these individuals, drawing on local newspapers, interviews, and various archival materials.
"Her book will be appreciated by scholars, while being very accessible to students and general readers."
Tuesday’s launch takes place on the first floor of Clark Hall, Room 104, from 12:40 p.m.-1:30 p.m.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 10, 2012