UC Davis Gets $190,000 to Educate Teachers on Chinese American History

Chinese American History

The National Endowment for the Humanities gave a $190,000 grant last week to UC Davis’ workshop program called “Building Community in California: The Chinese American Experience.”

Six-figure grant: Under the workshop, 72 K-12 public school teachers around the country will be educated on California’s Chinese American history, which will, in turn, assist the participating teachers in designing their curriculum for their students, the Sacramento Bee reports.

  • It has long been the UC Davis Asian American studies department’s goal to make Asian American Studies research more accessible to all.
  • UC Davis’ The History Project will run the workshop under the leadership of The History Project director Stacey Greer and UC Davis Asian American studies department chair Dr. Robyn Rodriguez.
  • “There is this vast knowledge that’s been produced by Asian American Studies scholars that we think many educators may not have had access to,” Rodriguez was quoted as saying. “We’re really excited to be able to have this chance to share among a broader audience, giving them this unique lens into the Chinese American experience, but really also the broader Asian American experience.”
  • According to Rodriguez and Greer, much of the funding will be used in travel costs and stipends for the participating teachers.
  • Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, they have set the workshop to start tentatively next summer.

Workshop’s emphasis: The workshop aims to emphasize on important events in Chinese American history that have not been given enough focus on California’s education system.

  • The introduction to these courses are timely, Rodriguez and Greer said, amid the growing anti-Asian racism during the pandemic.
  • Participants of the program will have a week-long tour of major California landmarks in Chinese history.
  • Among the destinations include San Francisco’s Angel Island, the site of detention for many Chinese immigrants to the U.S., and the Donner Summit, the granite mountain that Chinese railroad workers carved into to make way for the Transcontinental Railroad.
  • Historians, advocates and artists will assist in educating teachers on the history of Chinese Americans in each of the destinations. 
  • Under the program, K-12 classrooms can be a venue where students can learn about the origins of anti-Asian hate and its consequences.

Scratching the surface: Rodriguez and Greer pointed out that the efforts of the project are just a fraction of what is necessary for shedding light on Asian Americans’ overlooked histories. 

  • The two hope that the workshop will also be used for many other communities’ histories, including California’s indigenous, Filipinx and African American populations.
  • Greer noted, “There’s so many other layers here. We always tell the same stories and we don’t get to the other communities whose stories haven’t been told. This is just one example.”
  • Meanwhile, Rodriguez shared her hopes that the workshop will inspire the type of teacher training necessary in the K-12 system in California and elsewhere.

Feature Image via ICSA from Pexels

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