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Contact & Location


Confucius Institute

Physical Address:
University of Idaho
Admin. Bldg. 328
851 Campus Drive
Moscow, Idaho 83844
Phone: (208) 885-7110
Fax: (208) 885-5221

Mailing Address:
Confucius Institute
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3174
Moscow, ID 83844-3174

Dr. Hexian Xue, Co-Director
South China University of Technology
(208) 885-7135

Dr. Matthew Wappett, Co-Director
University of Idaho
(208) 885-2214

History & Archaeology of the Chinese in Idaho

Pricilla Wegars showing artifacts to the Chinese delegationThe University of Idaho Confucius Institute, Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology, and the Asian American Comparative Collection celebrated Global Confucius Institute Day with a special presentation by Dr. Priscilla Wegars!

People from China began coming to Idaho in the mid-1860s.  While most were then employed as miners, they also performed a wide variety of other occupations, and made important contributions to the growth and development of Idaho as a state. 

This presentation provided a background on Chinese immigration and focuses on the Chinese experience in Idaho, including occupations, geographical distribution, customs, anti-Chinese legislation, Chinese women, and other topics.  Excavations of Chinese archaeological sites in Idaho have shown that the Chinese here relied mostly on familiar products imported from China, but used American-made goods on occasion. A hands-on exhibit of Chinese artifacts from the UI's Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC) enhanced the presentation. Thank you Dr. Wegars, and thank you to the UI anthropology students who helped set up the lab for the event!

Friends, please make sure you stop by the University of Idaho's Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology and see the Asian American Comparative Collection next time you are on campus!


Priscilla Wegars, Ph.D., of Moscow, is a historian, historical archaeologist, artifact analyst, editor, and proofreader. She founded the University of Idaho's Asian American Comparative Collection (AACC), a unique resource of artifacts, images, and documentary materials essential for understanding Asian American archaeological sites, economic contributions, and cultural history. Priscilla edited "Hidden Heritage: Historical Archaeology of the Overseas Chinese" (1993) and co-edited "Chinese American Death Rituals: Respecting the Ancestors" (2005). She wrote "Imprisoned in Paradise: Japanese Internee Road Workers at the World War II Kooskia Internment Camp" (2010) and "As Rugged as the Terrain: CCC 'Boys,' Federal Convicts, and World War II Alien Internees Wrestle with a Mountain Wilderness" (2013). Currently, she is expanding her book for children, "Polly Bemis: A Chinese American Pioneer" (2003), into a biography, for adults, of Polly Bemis's life.

The University of Idaho Confucius Institute’s mission is to further the understanding of Chinese language and culture, to encourage faculty and student exchange, and to foster economic development between the United States and China. In this endeavor, the university is partnering with the South China University of Technology in Guangzhou, China. Learn more:  www.uidaho.edu/confucius-institute

The Laboratory of Anthropology is part of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in the College of Letters, Arts and Social Science at the University of Idaho. The laboratory was founded specifically for the purpose of giving students the opportunity to practice anthropology and archaeology in a controlled environment before entering the professional community. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu/class/anthrolab

The Asian American Comparative Collection is a unique resource containing artifacts, slides, and documentary materials essential for understanding Asian American archaeological sites, economic contributions, and cultural history. Learn more: www.uidaho.edu/class/anthrolab/signaturecollections/aaccollection