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May 23, 2022, Mark Johnson, author The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky  -- 12:00 pm (noon) at the Archives

From the earliest days of non-Native settlement of Montana, when Chinese immigrants made up more than 10 percent of the territory’s population, Chinese pioneers played a key role in the region’s development. But this population, so crucial to Montana’s history, remains underrepresented in historical accounts, and popular attention to the Chinese in Montana tends to focus on sensational elements—exoticizing Chinese Montanans and distancing their lived experiences from our modern understanding. Mark T. Johnson’s new book, The Middle Kingdom under the Big Sky, seeks to recover the stories of Montana’s Chinese population in their own words and deepen understanding of Chinese experiences in Montana by using a global lens.

May 25, 2022, Pat Munday, "In the Mood for Love: Margaret Woo and the Chinese Woman's 'Power Dress' fo the 1930s" -- 12:00 pm (noon) at the Archives

Margaret Woo, who married Howard L. Chinn of Butte’s Chinn family, had a collection of elegant and beautiful qipao (or cheongsam) dresses made for her while living in China with her family from 1935 to  1937. In America, we often view the qipao dress in sexualized terms. This meaning stems from movie depictions of qipao dresses in films such as The World of Suzie Wong (1960), The Flowers of War (2011), and In the Mood for Love (2000). This depiction is historically wrong. In early 20th century China, the qipao dress was a social and political statement that marked Chinese women’s entry into the modern world and, with that, a kind of feminism. Through Margaret Woo’s eyes, as a young transnational woman, we gain some appreciation for and understanding of this Chinese power dress of the 1930s.