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Shellfish for the Celestial Empire

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Copyright: August 2016
Trim: 6 x 9
Pages: 336 pp.
Illustrations: 48 illus., 9 maps

PAPER
978-1-60781-496-2
$34.95
Trade

eBOOK
978-1-60781-497-9
$28.00

Shellfish for the Celestial Empire

The Rise and Fall for Commercial Abalone Fishing in California

Todd J. Braje

Archaeology / Anthropology

In the 1800s, when California was captivated by gold fever, a small group of Chinese immigrants recognized the fortune to be made from the untapped resources along the Pacific coast, particularly from harvesting the black abalone of southern and Baja California. These immigrants, with skills from humble beginnings in a traditional Chinese fishing province, founded California’s commercial abalone industry and led its growth and expansion for several decades.

Today, the physical evidence of historical Chinese abalone fishing on the mainland has been erased by development. On California’s Channel Islands, however, remnants of temporary abalone collecting and processing camps lie scattered along the coastlines. These sites hold a treasure trove of information, stories, lifeways, and history. Todd Braje uses them to explore the history of Chinese abalone fishing, presenting a microcosm of the broader history of Chinese immigrants in America.


Todd J. Braje is an associate professor of anthropology at San Diego State University.



Table of Contents:

List of Figures
List of Tables
Preface and Acknowledgments

1. Fish and Fisheries in Southern California: A History of Collapse
2. Of Anchors, Admirals, and Artifice: The Chinese before Columbus?
3. Chinese History and the Exodus to Gold Mountain
4. Chinese Immigrants in the Wild West
5. The Archaeology of Chinese Abalone Fishing in Southern California
6. Nineteenth-Century Abalone Fishing on California’s Channel Islands: The Archaeology of Johnsons Lee and Point Bennett
7. A March toward Exclusion: Twilight of the Chinese Abalone Fishery
8. An Enduring Legacy?

References

Index


Praise and Reviews:

“Although other authors have documented aspects of the rise and fall of commercial abalone fishing, to my knowledge none has the particular focus of Braje’s book the social context of the industry and links to a deeper history. The book will have a significant impact in the fields of conservation of marine resources and marine habitat restoration.”
—Michael A. Glassow, Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara

“A new and unique contribution to historical archaeology, the historical archaeologies of Chinese immigrants in the Americas, zooarchaeology, environmental archaeology, historical ecology, and western history. An innovative piece of work.”
—Mark Warner, professor of anthropology and department chair, University of Idaho

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