Taryn Flaherty

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20242025 Forum on Keywords

Taryn Flaherty

Executive Board, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum

CAS, 2025

Taryn Flaherty (she/her) is a rising fourth year in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in history and minoring in sociology and East Asian Languages and Civilizations. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Taryn's research interests focus on historical social movements of immigrant communities in Philadelphia that have shaped the city we live in today. For her history thesis, Taryn is researching the development, community activism, and sense of self-determination in Philadelphia Chinatown through oral histories of residents, business owners, and community members. Taryn is involved in the Asian Pacific Student Coalition at Penn and recently led an effort to build a youth community center in Chinatown. On any given day, Taryn is likely studying at Paris Baguette, taking a mid-day nap at PAACH, or obsessing over some digital or physical archive.

"Save Chinatown!": Oral Histories of Resistance, Community Development, and Self-Determination

I propose a historical study of Philadelphia Chinatown’s relationship with development shaped by the 1970s through the 1990s. Contrasting large corporate developments protested by the Chinatown community with the proposals for community-led development of senior affordable housing and the rise of community advocacy organizations, I hope to explain how Chinatown as a predominantly working-class immigrant community of color sought to take agency of their neighborhood. My research seeks to understand how principles of self-determination and mutual aid have been redefined by Chinatown community members. My methods will predominantly consist of archival work and oral interviews with residents, business owners, and community members in an effort to reveal a version of Chinatown's history of development as told by the community and for the community.