Ling, Huping 1956- (Ping Linghu)

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Ling, Huping 1956- (Ping Linghu)


Born August 13, 1956, in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China; naturalized U.S. citizen; daughter of Pu (a government official and teacher) and Huyan (a government official and teacher) Linghu; married Mohammad Samiullah (a professor of physics); children: William, Isaac. Ethnicity: "Asian." Education: Shangxi University, B.A., 1982; University of Oregon, M.A., 1987; Miami University, Oxford, OH, Ph.D., 1991.


Office—Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO 63501; fax: 660-785-4337. E-mail—[email protected].


High school teacher of Chinese language and literature in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, China, 1974-78; Shanxi University, Shanxi, assistant professor of history, 1982-85; Georgetown University, Washington, DC, visiting scholar in history, 1985; Miami University, Oxford, OH, instructor in history, 1991; Truman State University, Kirksville, MO, assistant professor, 1991-95, associate professor, 1996-2003, professor of history, 2004—. Washington University, St. Louis, MO, visiting professor, 1998-99. Guest speaker at University of Missouri at St. Louis, Wichita State University, Peking University, and elsewhere in the United States and abroad; conference participant; guest on local media programs.


International Society for Studies of Chinese Overseas, Association for Asian Studies, Association for Asian American Studies (regional board director, 2001-03), American Historical Association, Chinese Association for American Studies, Chinese Historians in the United States.


Jepson fellow, Truman State University, 1993-94; American fellow, American Association of University Women Educational Foundation, 1995-96; grant from Ford Foundation and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, 1998; best article award, Missouri Conference on History, 2006.


(Under name Ping Linghu) Surviving on the Gold Mountain: A History of Chinese American Women and Their Lives, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 1998.

Jinshan Yao: A History of Chinese American Women, Chinese Social Sciences Publishing House (Beijing, China), 1999.

Ping Piao Mei Guo: New Immigrants in America, Beiyue Literature and Art Publishing House (Shanxi, China), 2003.

Chinese St. Louis: From Enclave to Cultural Community, Temple University Press (Philadelphia, PA), 2004.

Voices of the Heart: Asian American Women on Immigration, Work, and Family, Truman State University Press (Kirksville, MO), 2007.

Chinese in St. Louis, 1857-2007, Arcadia Publishing (Mount Pleasant, SC), 2007.

Contributor to books, including New Studies on Chinese Overseas and China, International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden, Netherlands), 2000; Modernity and Cultural Identity in Taiwan, Global Publishing (River Edge, NJ), 2001; Imperial China, 617-1644, Manly (Columbia, SC), 2002; Asian American Children, edited by Benson Tong, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 2004; and The New Missouri History, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, MO), 2004. Author of "Chinese St. Louisans," a column in St. Louis Chinese American News. Contributor of articles and reviews to journals and newspapers, including Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of Urban History, Research on Women in Modern Chinese History, Chinese American Forum, American Studies, Missouri Historical Review, History Teacher, and Overseas Chinese History Studies. Member of editorial board, Journal of Asian American Studies, 2004-07.


Huping Ling told CA: "I was born in Taiyuan, the capital city of Shanxi province in China, the youngest of four. My parents named me Ping, meaning ‘drifting duckweed,’ without knowing that the naming would be an aura of my fate many years later. My surname Linghu is a rare one in China. It can be traced all the way to the Western Zhou Dynasty (1100 BC-771 BC), when Wei Ke, a descendant of King Wen of Zhou was granted a principality named Linghu as an award for his victory in the military campaigns against a neighboring state. Hence, Linghu became the surname of Wei Ke and his offspring. In its long and glorious lineal history, many members of the Linghu clan served a prime ministers, palace chroniclers, and on other important posts. Many members also became doctors or teachers. My parents' life history represented both. My parents were both high-ranking Nationalist government officials prior to 1949, when the Communist Party took over China. They both became teachers in the post-1949 China and suffered during all the subsequent political campaigns, like most Chinese intellectuals did. My dad passed away in 2000, and my mom is eighty-two, still living in Taiyuan, where my brother and two sisters and their families also live.

"I started teaching high school when I was sixteen, still a high school student myself. Four years later I went to Shanxi University and majored in history. Four years later in 1985, after winning several rounds of competition on English and academic abilities, I was selected as a Chinese government-sponsored scholar to come to the United States for further education. I first landed in Washington, DC. Now I am a full professor at Truman State University, where I created the Asian American studies program.

"Since I joined the faculty at Truman, I have continued my research and writing on Asian Americans. I noted that there is a severe under-representation of Asian Americans in the Midwest, and that Asian American studies have traditional been coast-centered. To try to fill the void, I have devoted much of my time and energy to research on Asian Americans in the Midwest. I interviewed more than 200 Asian Americans in the region, from both small towns and metropolises such as St. Louis.

"In the academic year of 1998-99, I was a visiting professor at Washington University in St. Louis. I had more opportunity to do research and writing on the Chinese in St. Louis. The members of the Chinese community received me warmly and helped with my research in various ways. I interviewed Chinese St. Louisans, visited numerous Chinese restaurants, stores, law firms, cultural agencies, and even Chinese burial sites in Valhalla Cemetery. I have been fascinated with the unique, yet not uncommon, feature of the community as a different type of Chinese American community. Although Olive Boulevard has blocks of Chinese or Asian businesses, the majority of Chinese businesses are spread all over the St. Louis area.

"How should I define and interpret such a community? I proposed a model of ‘cultural community’ to describe the Chinese community of St. Louis. It is formed, not just for economic reasons, but more for cultural and psychological reasons. Unlike the conventional Chinatown, its physical boundary is more flexible, fluid, and unfixed. Such a community is very visible and identifiable when Chinese language schools are in session on Sundays, churches congregate its members, and community organizations hold cultural celebrations and activities.

"What is the prospective of the cultural community? The cultural community in St. Louis has provided an alternative model for understanding the diversity and complexity of the Chinese American communities. While the earlier theories of Chinese communities are less adequate in explaining an ethnic community that is geographically dispersed and intermingled with the majority society, yet consciously congregates in cultural events that distinguish itself from the larger society, the model of cultural community gives an appropriate and satisfactory interpretation. The cultural community as a variant of the ethnic community also reflects the social advancement of an ethnic minority group in a society that integrates to some extent but continues to be classed and racialized. The transformation of the Chinese community from a Chinatown to a cultural community hails the socioeconomic and political progress that Chinese Americans have achieved since the 1960s. In other words, the presence of cultural community indicates the socioeconomic progress of an ethnic minority. Thus far, the model of cultural community displays a prospective pattern for an ethnic community when it achieves socioeconomic integration, yet still yearns for its cultural identity. It is certain that, as long as America remains a multicultural and multiracial society, one will expect to find various cultural communities. Meanwhile, it is also important to note that a cultural community is not an advocate of cultural separatism, but a celebration of multiculturalism or cultural pluralism in a multicultural and multiracial society."



Truman State University Web site: Huping Ling Home Page, (July 19, 2007).