Anthony B. Chan

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Anthony B. Chan



Published books

TitleExtended titleYear of Publication
Linking African American Ghettos and Chinatowns in 19th Century AmericaLinking African American Ghettos and Chinatowns in 19th Century America-Implications for Criminological Theory2010


Chinese Cafes in Rural SaskatchewanA film profile of four Chinese cafe owners and their families living and flourishing in Outlook, Humboldt, and Eston, Saskatchewan. It looks at the role of women and sexism, historical and contemporary racism, business acumen, civic spirit and neighborhood relations. Includes a segment on Wayne Mah, the prairie’s only Chinese Canadian mayor in 1985. Rare still photos of early Chinese in Canada. (3)1985
The PanamaChronicling the Chan family of Victoria, B.C. One of the oldest Chinese families in Victoria, they owned and operated several restaurants, ending with the Panama Cafe on Government Street from around 1930 until 1967. Chan Dun, at the age of seventeen, landed in Victoria in the 1893, and his family of eight sons and four daughters lived & worked at the Panama Cafe, a western-style eatery catering to the working class of the city. It survived the depression and the war years (even when several sons left for military service). But in the 1960s when fast-food competition in the city became too great, they closed their doors. The film includes many rare black and white photos of early Victoria.1996

An accomplished scholar, teacher, academic leader, filmmaker, television journalist, and writer, Anthony B. Chan's last academic position was Professor and Associate Dean of Communication in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Oshawa, Ontario. [1]

Chan is currently co-authoring a new book about the lives of Chinese Canadians in Victoria and Vancouver from 1931 to 1932. This is based on his parent's letters and primary archival sources. In this manuscript, he recounts the notion of arranged marriages, the economics of managing a cafe catering to a predominantly European clientele, 1930s fashion, greeting cards communication and a swing band among Chinese Canadians, interracial relations and the murder of Mary Shaw, and the social impact of the Depression among the Chinese in Victoria and Vancouver, among other topics. He is also working on a sequel to his Gold Mountain with a special chapter on the criminalizing of the Chinese in the Canadian/western media.

He continues to serve as a Consulting Editor on the Editorial Board of Asian Affairs: An American Journal (Washington, D.C.). [2]

His latest publication (2013) is a review essay of 3 recently published works on Chinese Canada: Arlene Chan on the Chinese in Toronto, May Q. Wong on a Chinese family in Montreal and David Wong's path breaking graphic novel on the Chinese in North America. [3]

Born and raised in Victoria, B.C., Professor Chan returned to Canada after serving as the Chair of the B.A. and M.A. degree programs in Canadian Studies and Director of the Canadian Studies Center in the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies and as an Associate Professor of Communication and Head of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Previously, he was an Associate Professor of Mass Communication at California State University, Hayward. As an adjunct/sessional, he has also taught at the University of Victoria, University of Alberta, Saint Mary's University and Ferris State College in Big Rapids, Michigan.

His family has been in Canada continuously since 1893 when his grandfather, Chan Dun settled in Victoria, B.C.



His first historical biography analyzed the magical life and relentless business pursuits of Li Ka-shing, the most famous Hong Kong deal maker and one of the richest people in Asia. Li Ka-shing: Hong Kong Elusive Billionaire [4] was published by Oxford University Press and MacMillan(1996).

Anna May Wong and brother Roger Wong, 1934

Tony Chan’s scholarly film work includes Perpetually Cool: The Many Lives of Anna May Wong, 1905-1961(2003, 2007), [5] [6] [7] which chronicled the amazing life and hard times of the legendary Chinese American actor, Anna May Wong.

New York-born,Hollywood actor, LUCY LIU recently bought the film rights to Perpetually Cool. She will play AMW.

Reviews for Perpetually Cool: The Many Lives of Anna May Wong, 1905-1961:

Richard Corliss, Time Magazine [8]

Robert Gottlieb, The New York Review of Books [9]

Leslie Camhi, New York Times [10]

Asian Affairs [11]

Asia Pacific Arts, UCLA [12]

See Anna May Wong's memoir and last will and testament:

Anna May Wong's Memoirs, Part 1 [13]

Anna May Wong's Memoirs, Part 2" [14]

Anna May Wong's Last Will and Testament filed February 28, 1961 [15]

For chapter samples of Chan's biography of Anna May Wong, see:


Chan’s other scholarly works include Arming the Chinese: The Western Armaments Trade in Warlord China, 1920-1928 (1982) [17] [18].

He wrote the classic,Gold Mountain: The Chinese in the New World (1983) [19] [20].

In the book, he brought forth one of the most contentious issues in Chinese Canada. (Were the Chinese "sojourners" or immigrants? Reprinted as "Orientalism" and Image Making: The Sojourner in Canadian History in the now defunct Journal of Ethnic Studies, Volume 9, Number 3 (Fall) 1981, 37-46).

Now reprinted and available online in Ginger Post [21].

In 2008, Tony Chan published the innovative Dao of Communication [22], which he co-wrote with Nancy Van Leuven.

He is co-editor of People to People: An Introduction to Communications. Currently, he is writing a book length manuscript on immigrant nationalism in Chinese Canada where he is focused on examining the impact of such social network systems as Facebook on family bonds and the pervasiveness of cyber crime on this ethnic nation in Canada.

His articles can be found in Asian Affairs, Cinemaya, Gazette, Journal of European Economic History, Journal of Ethnic Studies, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Adult Education, Asian Profile, and Army Journal and Defence Quarterly, among others. Professor Chan was the founding editor of: New Scholars - New Visions in Canadian Studies (Seattle). [23] and co-founder of The Asianadian: An Asian Canadian Magazine (Toronto). [24][25] [26]

In 1979, Tony Chan was the Halifax, Nova Scotia delegate in the ad hoc committee against CTV's W5 "Campus Giveway." He was also a founding member of the Chinese Canadian National Council (CCNC). See his essay on this important Canadian civil rights movement: 30th September 1979 30th Anniversary of Chinese Canadian Activism. [27]

In 2007, Chan returned to Toronto after wandering the earth for 25 years in Asia, the US, and Europe. His quest for enlightenment brought him home.

Primary Films[edit]

As a filmmaker, Chan’s independent films include a four part series on Asian Americans and Vietnam. The series was purchased by Ken Burns for his 2016 series on Vietnam [28].

Lily Goes Home (2007)

The Insanity of It All (2002)

Sweet Heat (1998)

American Nurse (1992)

Chan has also produced films focusing on work, culture and survival in North America. Some examples:

The Panama (1996)

Another Day in America (1989)

Chinese Cafes in Rural Saskatchewan (1985)

He has worked as a television reporter for the CBC in Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Calgary (1983-1986). At CBC Regina, he hosted and narrated several episodes of The Canadians.

More than 800 Apply for CBC Visible Minority Training Program, October 19, 1983 [52]

After working for mother corp, HK-TVB (Television Broadcast Ltd., Hong Kong) hired Chan in 1986 as anchor, Senior Producer, and television journalist for a weekly public affairs program, FOCUS. [53]

Notable Films[edit]

The Triad Report

Across the Fine Line (mental health in HK)

Sharks and Little Fish

Yankee Dollar$

Leaving Home (Canadian and Australian emigration)

Reorganizing the Shop (Predates the Tian'anmen events)

A Passion for China (Rare footage of pre-1949 China)

See his latest films:

Dunhuang Oasis [76]

Wang Wei [77]

Du Fu's Thatched Cottage [78]

Dr. Chan’s degrees include a PhD in modern Chinese history from York University, Diploma in Chinese from the Beijing Language Institute, MAs from Bowling Green State University and the University of Arizona, and a BA from the University of Victoria.

Other Writings[edit]

Born Again Asian: The Making of a New Literature [79] (Reprint of the first analysis of Asian Canadian Literature, Journal of Ethnic Studies, Volume 11, Number 4 (Winter), 1984, 57-63).

Social Change and Political Legitimacy in Warlord China [80] (Reprint of Chan's first scholarly article, Asian Studies, Volume X1, Number 1 (April) 1973, 151-164).

Chinese in Canada, Canadian Encyclopedia [81]

Chinese Canada [82]

Chan also writes and edits for Ginger Post: An Online Asian/Chinese Canadian Magazine [83]