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Mahjong: A Chinese Game and the Making of Modern American Culture

May 11 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Donation
How did this game inform Jewish American and Chinese American identities in neighborhoods across the country?

How does the Chinese parlor game mahjong fit into the American historic landscape? In what ways did this game foster the development of Jewish American and Chinese American identities across the country? Professor Annelise Heinz charts a complex cultural journey as the game’s history connects American expatriates in Shanghai, Jazz Age white Americans, urban Chinese Americans in the 1930s, incarcerated Japanese Americans in wartime, Jewish American suburban mothers, and Air Force officers’ wives in the postwar era. New York City plays a central role every step of the way, including as the birthplace of the American mahjong culture led by Jewish women. Her talk follows the history of one game to think about how, in their daily lives, individuals create and experience cultural change.

Her book is available to purchase here.

Annelise Heinz is an assistant professor of history at the University of Oregon. Her work has been featured on National Public Radio and international Chinese television. She has lived and played mahjong in the United States and Southwestern China. She is the author of Mahjong: A Chinese Game and the Making of Modern American Culture, published by Oxford University Press in May 2021.

This conversation will take place over Zoom.