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Social & Behavioral Sciences


Abstract: The current conditions of the Salinas Chinatown cause many to avoid the area. In recent years, most have become unaware that Chinatown holds a significant part of our local history. The works of Lori A. Flores, and Rina Benmayor have served as an influence for engaging in this project. The main intent of this research is to expand on these works, and to support the notion that Chinatown’s history must be preserved. This study will provide a cohesive analysis which will look at themes that emerge from scholarly work and raw data. Between 2008 and 2015, Rina Benmayor led a project of collecting oral histories from individuals who interacted with Chinatown in the 20th century. This research will include content from these sources, as well as other materials dedicated to Chinatown’s history. The content of the findings will further elaborate on the themes found in the literature review. These themes include, but not limited to, social barriers, and cultural expression. Ultimately, this research will demonstrate that Salinas Chinatown possesses a significant part of our local history.

Course and Instructor

SBS 402 Professor Michelle Figueroa


Chinatown, Ethnic Enclave, Cultural Expression


Originally, I heard about this award during the spring of 2019 from Professor John Klein. I became interested in this topic after reading Lori A. Flores' Grounds for Dreaming. In her book, Flores provides a brief history of Salinas Chinatown. After reading this, I became interested on this part of our local history.

[2020 Honorable Mention] The Chinatown of Soledad Street: A Historical Analysis of a Multicultural Ethnic Enclave from early 20th century Salinas