This project remembers, documents, and showcases Providence’s Chinatown and connects this history both to the modern Chinese diaspora in Rhode Island and to all of the state’s residents. This exhibition is part of a larger effort to create an archive of the Chinese American experience in Rhode Island. The archive will include relevant documents, images and objects for future scholarly and community research.

Project Team

The exhibition team works out of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage at Brown University where Angela Feng and Julieanne Fontana, the lead curators, have energized a cohort of their fellow graduate students in Public Humanities to contribute a variety of talents.

Feng is a third year in the American Studies PhD program at Brown University with a specialization in Asian American Studies and also working towards her certificate in Public Humanities. Her research interests include Asian American community, politics and culture, Asian American literature, and Chinese Diaspora in the Americas. Prior to Brown, she worked as a lecturer at the English Department of Minzu University of China, Beijing.

Fontana is second year student in the Public Humanities Master’s program at Brown University, and the project coordinator of “Providence’s Chinatown.” She has background in museum work and public programming and past experience working for the National Park Service.

Supporting the front-line team are John Eng-Wong, Visiting Scholar, and Robert Lee, Associate Professor in American Studies at Brown. Eng-Wong, recently retired from Brown University, has published and presented extensively Chinese food heritage and Chinese community. He has conducted several projects, including “The Stories of Doris and Leah and Grace---RI Chinese American Chronicles” in 2007, sponsored by the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities and “Eating Chinese: Global and Local Perspectives on Memory and Identity” in 2008, sponsored by Brown University and Johnson & Wales Culinary Arts Museum.

Lee has published numerous works related to the history of Asian people in the United States, racial formations, and relations between Asia and America, including Orientals and Dear Miye, Letters Home from Japan. His current research examines how immigrant Chinese and their American-born citizen offspring constructed discourses of citizenship in the face of legal and social exclusion. During AY 2013-2014, he was the Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Chinese University of Hong Kong.

About Providence’s Chinatown’s Partners and Sponsors

The Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE) is a nonprofit entity incorporated in Massachusetts in 1992. It is the first educational organization dedicated solely to documenting, preserving, and promoting the history and legacy of Chinese immigration in New England.

The Rhode Island State Archives, a part of the Rhode Island Department of State, is open to the public Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 4:30 at 337 Westminster Street in downtown Providence. Validated parking is available adjacent to the building at Down City Parking.