|A former grade school librarian and teacher, Ruthanne Lum McCunn has taught at Cornell University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and the University of San Francisco. Although she is now a full time writer, she frequently lectures at schools, universities, libraries, and community organizations.
My Search for the Chinese Yankee
|Using archival images and lively anecdotes to reveal the chance discoveries, meticulous sleuthing through primary documents, and partnering with individuals and institutions that constitute historical research, Ruthanne Lum McCunn shares her thirty-year journey to the 2014 publication of CHINESE YANKEE.
Asians and Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Civil War
|In this vividly illustrated talk, Ruthanne Lum McCunn brings to life the amazing stories of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the Confederate and Union Navies and Armies, including that of Thomas Sylvanus (Ah Yee Way), the veteran whose life she reclaimed in CHINESE YANKEE. Discussing the subsequent battle of Chinese veterans for citizenship, she also explores an important and virtually unknown chapter in America's rocky yet persistent struggle towards a more perfect Union.
The Chinese Ingredient
|Ruthanne Lum McCunn began researching and writing about the Chinese in America while creating curriculum for her students in the San Francisco public schools. In 1979, she turned her curriculum materials into her first book, reclaiming history and rewriting the American experience. In American Hotpot: The Chinese Ingredient, McCunn discusses her motivation for reclaiming the lives of Chinese pioneers and their significance for us today.
|THE MANY FACES OF CHINESE AMERICA
|Ruthanne Lum McCunn shatters the commonplace stereotypes of Chinese America by showing its diversity in images and stories that capture the deep roots and complicated history of the Chinese American experience.
Challenges and Responsibilities
|Ruthanne Lum McCunn discusses the combination of organized curiosity and exciting detective work required to research the experiences of Chinese/Americans in the 19th century. In particular, she explores the researcher's responsibility when more than 100 years have passed, crucial documentation has been destroyed, and she is challenged with conflicting eye-witness testimony, hard evidence, and opinions that are completely divergent.
|RESEARCHING AND WRITING HISTORICAL FICTION:
|With her own novels as case studies, Ruthanne Lum McCunn examines her use of oral history and written documentation in researching the lives of Chinese on both sides of the Pacific and the choices she makes in weaving together fact and fiction and exploring race, class, and gender.
|THE ROLE OF HISTORICAL FICTION IN THE CLASSROOM
|With her own books as examples, Ms. McCunn debates the perils and rewards of using historical fiction to convey the experiences of Chinese in America.
|REACHING FOR THE MOON PEARL:
An Exploration of Women's Resistance
|Ruthanne Lum McCunn's biographical novel Thousand Pieces of Gold tells the true story of Lalu Nathoy, who was brought to America from Northern China in 1872, auctioned off as a slave, won her freedom through a poker game, and is remembered today in Idaho as the beloved pioneer Polly Bemis. The Moon Pearl, set in 1830s Southern China, tells the true story of girls who joined forces to battle parents and clan leaders for lives of self-rule, creating a tradition of independent sisterhood that won acceptance and became much admired and respected. In discussing these two very different stories, McCunn explores the experiences of Chinese women in Northern and Southern China and the American West; resistance through individual struggle and collaborative effort; effecting social change and the continuing struggle for empowerment today.
|HAPA OR DOUBLE:
A Mixed Race Reading of Chinese in America
|Ruthanne Lum McCunn reveals how being a woman of mixed race and American born but raised in Hong Kong has impacted her work--from her choices for research to publication and beyond.
|CHINESE AMERICA: A MULTICULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
|Through readings from her novels, Ruthanne Lum McCunn explores the historical intersections between the lives of Chinese Americans, Latin Americans, African Americans, and EuroAmericans.
|WHAT IS AN AUTHOR?
|Ruthanne Lum McCunn shares the incidents in her childhood that made her decide on a career as a writer and how she goes about her work--from getting the initial idea for a story to the book's publication.