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Pepperdine Libraries to Host Second Annual Modern California Lecture

The sweat and blood of the Chinese laborers that built the Transcontinental Railroad fueled the ascent of an interlinked, industrial United States. But those of them who survived this perilous effort would suffer a different kind of death—a historical one, as they were pushed first to the margins of American life and then to the fringes of public memory. 

At 6 PM on Thursday, February 20, in the Surfboard Room at Payson Library, Gordon H. Chang, professor of American history and Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities at Stanford University, will share the recovered stories of these Chinese railroad workers and celebrate their contribution to the development of modern America. Chang's most recent publication, Ghosts of Gold Mountain: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad, will be available for purchase after the event. 

This lecture is part of Pepperdine Libraries' Envisioning Modern California initiative, an annual lecture series on the making, remaking, and mythologizing of California, with a focus on the 20th and 21st centuries. The series explores topics such as land development, architecture, political movements and ideologies, surfing, car culture, travel and tourism, postwar economics, migration and immigration, literary representation, Hollywood and celebrity culture, and the connections between regional and global history.

Each year’s visit by a prominent guest scholar is accompanied by additional programming targeted at undergraduates, faculty, and local K-12 schools. Through these events, the series aims to strengthen humanities education and research on campus, deepen ties to the local community, and reinforce Pepperdine’s commitment to understanding the history and future of the American West.