MALS Thesis Talk by Johnny Thach

MAR 23, 2017 | 6:30 PM TO 8:30 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue




March 23, 2017: 6:30 PM-8:30 PM




MA in Liberal Studies



Come listen to Johnny Thach, winner of the 2015-2016 MALS Thesis Prize, on his dissertation, “Organizing Against Discrimination: The Chinese Hand Laundrymen Historical Niche and Ethnic Solidarity in America.”

From late 1800s to early 1900s, a mosaic of Chinese hand laundrymen activism, community organization and solidarity represented earliest forms of ethnic collective action in response to the proliferation of racially discriminatory and hostile ordinances and laws. By exploring primary and secondary historical sources, the experiences of Tung Hing Tong and Chinese Hand Laundry Alliance offer a compelling and storied lens into how two groups led trailblazing initiatives to organize and strengthen Chinese immigrant communities in California and New York. A field still quite unfamiliar to contemporary academics, Chinese hand laundries leave a legacy of important developments in civil rights and American history, and continues to influence Chinese American and immigrant communities today.

Johnny Thach is a graduate from the CUNY Graduate Center’s MALS program, and the winner of the 2015-2016 MALS Thesis Prize. Raised by ethnic-Chinese Vietnamese refugee parents and grown up around laundromats, his academic studies and writings have concentrated on exploring the immigrant/diaspora experience and stories, connecting shared ties between the past and present, understanding and rediscover his ethnic and cultural heritage, identity and roots. He has worked as an educator at the Museum of Chinese in America and currently a program manager in City government to expand and provide services for older adults.