Rancho Los Cerritos to Host “Madness and Migration in Gold Rush California”

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“Madness and Migration in Gold Rush California,” is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, as part of Rancho Los Cerritos’ 2014 lecture series, “California – A Land of Many: The Immigrant Experience & Its Legacy.” Presented by Professor Angela Hawk, Ph.D., the program begins at 10:00 a.m. in the Rancho’s sunporch. Admission is $7 ($5 for students) and payable at the door; please call (562) 570-1755 to make a reservation.

Professor Hawk will focus on the psychological impacts of the migration to California and the incidence of insanity among Gold Rush migrants. The presence of ‘mad’ migrants was a key concern for politicians seeking to usher in a more settled existence for California and provided the impetus for the construction of the state’s publicly-funded asylum system. As that system became increasingly overburdened and underfunded in the late nineteenth century, foreign-born patients were among the first to be portrayed as undeserving of long-term care at the state’s expense. With debates continuing to wage over immigrants’ rights to public health services, this talk illuminates the origins of the state’s treatment of its most vulnerable populations.

Angela Hawk (Ph.D. UC Irvine, 2011) is a lecturer in History and International Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Her 2011 article in the Pacific Historical Review, “Going Mad in Gold Country,” won the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association’s W. Turrentine Jackson prize for the best article published by a graduate student. She will be presenting new research on Chinese migrants’ adaptations to Western-style asylums in August at the 2014 annual meeting of the PCB-AHA.

The final program in the Rancho’s “A Land of Many: The Immigrant Experience & Its Legacy” 2014 Lecture Series is: Saturday, May 10 at 10 a.m. “Building Railroads and Transplanting Chinese Food: Chinese Americans in 19th Century” by Professor Yong Chen, Department of History, University of California at Irvine.

About the Rancho: Rancho Los Cerritos is located at 4600 Virginia Road in Long Beach. Built in 1844, the adobe home and grounds echo with the rich history of Spanish, Mexican, and American California and with the families who helped transform Southern California from its ranching beginnings to the modern and urban society it is today. The two-story Monterey-style adobe is primarily furnished to reflect occupants and lifestyles from the 1860s-1880s. The site, a National, State and Long Beach Historic Landmark, also includes historic gardens and a research library and archives. The Rancho is operated by the Rancho Los Cerritos Foundation in private-public partnership with the City of Long Beach. For more information please call (562) 570-1755, or visit the website at www.rancholoscerritos.org and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rancholosc.

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