Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2017-05-14 19:04Z by Steven

Youth and Empire: Trans-Colonial Childhoods in British and French Asia

Stanford University Press
December 2015
416 pages
Cloth ISBN: 9780804795173

David M. Pomfret, Professor of History
University of Hong Kong

This is the first study of its kind to provide such a broadly comparative and in-depth analysis of children and empire. Youth and Empire brings to light new research and new interpretations on two relatively neglected fields of study: the history of imperialism in East and South East Asia and, more pointedly, the influence of childhood—and children’s voices—on modern empires.

By utilizing a diverse range of unpublished source materials drawn from three different continents, David M. Pomfret examines the emergence of children and childhood as a central historical force in the global history of empire in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book is unusual in its scope, extending across the two empires of Britain and France and to points of intense impact in “tropical” places where indigenous, immigrant, and foreign cultures mixed: Hong Kong, Singapore, Saigon, and Hanoi. It thereby shows how childhood was crucial to definitions of race, and thus European authority, in these parts of the world. By examining the various contradictory and overlapping meanings of childhood in colonial Asia, Pomfret is able to provide new and often surprising readings of a set of problems that continue to trouble our contemporary world.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Introduction
  • 1. Childhood and the Reordering of Empire
  • 2. Tropical Childhoods: Health, Hygiene and Nature
  • 3. Cultural Contagions: Children in the Colonial Home
  • 4. Magic Islands: Children on Display in Colonialisms’ Cultures
  • 5. Trouble in Fairyland: Cultures of Childhood in Interwar Asia
  • 6. Intimate Heights: Children, Nature and Colonial Urban Planning
  • 7. Sick Traffic: ‘Child Slavery’ and Imperial Networks
  • 8. Class Reactions: Education and Colonial ‘Comings of Age’
  • 9. Raising Eurasia: Childhood, Youth and the Mixed Race Question
  • 10. Conclusion
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Prize-winning Hong Kong-born poet Sarah Howe makes verse of city’s Basic Law

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Media Archive on 2016-07-08 01:55Z by Steven

Prize-winning Hong Kong-born poet Sarah Howe makes verse of city’s Basic Law

South China Morning Post
2016-07-07

Clare Tyrrell-Morin

Having played down her Chinese side while growing up and studying in the UK, Howe, now at Harvard, has turned to it again as she makes an ‘erasure poem’ out of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution

We meet in a small office on the second floor of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, overlooking a tranquil garden unseen from Harvard University’s main thoroughfares. It’s freezing outside, but the view is spectacular: the bare branches of an ancient tree, contemplated by scholars for generations, silhouetted against a wintry sky. It’s a good view for a poet.

The office belongs to a Radcliffe Fellow, Sarah Howe, who is spending the year here with 50 other artists and scholars. You may not know her name yet, but Howe could become one of Hong Kong’s most celebrated writers.

In December, the 32-year-old won the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award for authors under the age of 35. The previous month, scientist Stephen Hawking read out a poem, titled “Relativity”, that she had written for him for Britain’s National Poetry Day. And, in January, Howe was presented with the £20,000 (HK$204,000) T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry at a lavish ceremony at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London.

Her winning collection was “Loop of Jade”, which weaves around her identity as a British-Chinese poet born in Hong Kong. The dualistic, hybrid work dances between the search for her mother’s Chinese roots and subjects as varied as censorship, 14th-century Flemish paintings, evenings in Arizona and the rain in London. The book captures a quest for identity, dislocation and the crossing of waters – themes familiar to many a Hongkonger – yet, equally, it is an exploration of the Western literary canon and the impact Chinese poetry has had on it…

Read the entire article here.

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Loop of Jade

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Poetry on 2016-01-13 15:14Z by Steven

Loop of Jade

Chatto & Windus, part of Vintage Publishing
2015-05-07
80 pages
Paperback EAN: 9780701188696
eBook EAN: 9781448190683

Sarah Howe

  • WINNER OF THE T. S. ELIOT PRIZE 2015
  • WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES / PETERS FRASER + DUNLOP YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD 2015
  • SHORTLISTED FOR THE FORWARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST COLLECTION 2015

There is a Chinese proverb that says: ‘It is more profitable to raise geese than daughters.’ But geese, like daughters, know the obligation to return home. In her exquisite first collection, Sarah Howe explores a dual heritage, journeying back to Hong Kong in search of her roots.

With extraordinary range and power, the poems build into a meditation on hybridity, intermarriage and love – what meaning we find in the world, in art, and in each other. Crossing the bounds of time, race and language, this is an enthralling exploration of self and place, of migration and inheritance, and introduces an unmistakable new voice in British poetry.

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Critical Mixed-Race In Transnational Perspective: The US, China, And Hong Kong, 1842-1943

Posted in Asian Diaspora, History, Live Events, Media Archive, United States on 2015-01-13 20:03Z by Steven

Critical Mixed-Race In Transnational Perspective: The US, China, And Hong Kong, 1842-1943

Center for East Asian Studies
Lathrop East Asia Library, Room 224
Stanford University
518 Memorial Way, Stanford, California
Thursday, 2015-01-15, 16:15-17:30 PST (Local Time)

Emma Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This paper will examine the intersection of Sinophone Studies and Critical Mixed-Race Studies (CMRS) – two new and critical paradigms of inquiry – as productive forces in reshaping Chinese Studies beyond the old Area Studies model. My work analyzes the evolving discourses on mixed-race as well as the lived experiences of Eurasians in China, Hong Kong, and the US during the era between 1842 and 1943, and thus lies at the intersection of these two emergent and dynamic fields. Through my research on transnational Chinese-Western mixed families I aim to expand the horizons of Critical Mixed-Race Studies, which has been dominated by the study of black-white interracialism. I ask how a transpacific comparative approach might shift the theoretical frameworks for critical race and ethnic studies by challenging the presumed universality of US-centric models. At the same time, I aim to expand the horizons of “Chinese” studies, asking how mixed-race or transracial hybrid identities contest racially bounded, Han Chinese-centric definitions of Chineseness.

For more information and to RSVP, click here.

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Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842-1943

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2013-07-01 02:48Z by Steven

Eurasian: Mixed Identities in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, 1842-1943

University of California Press
2013-07-07
352 pages
Hardback ISBN: 9780520276260
Paperback ISBN: 9780520276277
Ebook ISBN: 9780520957008

Emma Jinhua Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and Associate Professor of Chinese Studies
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In the second half of the nineteenth century, global labor migration, trade, and overseas study brought China and the United States into close contact, leading to new cross-cultural encounters that brought mixed-race families into being. Yet the stories of these families remain largely unknown. How did interracial families negotiate their identities within these societies when mixed-race marriage was taboo and “Eurasian” often a derisive term?

In Eurasian, Emma Jinhua Teng compares Chinese-Western mixed-race families in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, examining both the range of ideas that shaped the formation of Eurasian identities in these diverse contexts and the claims set forth by individual Eurasians concerning their own identities. Teng argues that Eurasians were not universally marginalized during this era, as is often asserted. Rather, Eurasians often found themselves facing contradictions between exclusionary and inclusive ideologies of race and nationality, and between overt racism and more subtle forms of prejudice that were counterbalanced by partial acceptance and privilege.

By tracing the stories of mixed and transnational families during an earlier era of globalization, Eurasian also demonstrates to students, faculty, scholars, and researchers how changes in interracial ideology have allowed the descendants of some of these families to reclaim their dual heritage with pride.

Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • A Note on Romanization
  • Acknowledgments
  • Prelude
  • Introduction
  • Part One
  • Part Two
    • 3. “A Problem for Which There Is No Solution”: The New Hybrid Brood and the Specter of Degeneration in New York’s Chinatown
    • 4. “Productive of Good to Both Sides”: The Eurasian as Solution in Chinese Utopian Visions of Racial Harmony
    • 5. Reversing the Sociological Lens: Putting Sino-American “Mixed Bloods” on the Miscegenation Map
  • Part Three
    • 6. The “Peculiar Cast”: Navigating the American Color Line in the Era of Chinese Exclusion
    • 7. On Not Looking Chinese: Chineseness as Consent or Descent?
    • 8. “No Gulf between a Chan and a Smith amongst Us”: Charles Graham Anderson’s Manifesto for Eurasian Unity in Interwar Hong Kong
  • Coda: Elsie Jane Comes Home to Rest
  • Epilogue
  • Chinese Character Glossary
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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Focus on Research: Emma J. Teng F’06 on the Hidden Histories of Mixed Race Families

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, History, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-03-29 15:25Z by Steven

Focus on Research: Emma J. Teng F’06 on the Hidden Histories of Mixed Race Families

American Council of Learned Societies
ACLS News
2012-10-01

ACLS asked its fellows to describe their research: the knowledge it creates and how this knowledge benefits our understanding of the world. We are pleased to present this response from Emma J. Teng, T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In June 1914, a young American woman with a small baby boarded a ship bound for China. Although she was white, she traveled in accommodations meant “for Asiatic passengers only.” Why? Mae Watkins Franking, a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, was traveling to China to reunite with her Chinese husband, whom she had met as a student at the University of Michigan. Due to the Marital Expatriation Act of 1907, which stripped U.S. citizenship from all American women who married foreign nationals, Mae had taken Chinese nationality, and thus, in an age of segregated travel, she journeyed to Shanghai under this status. Mae might have felt apprehensive moving to China, for although racial intermarriage was legal in Michigan at the time of the Frankings’ wedding, the Chinese government prohibited the intermarriage of overseas students with foreign women. (Merchants and laborers were allowed to intermarry.) The Frankings had three children: Nelson, born in the U.S., was an American citizen by right of birth; while Alason and Cecile, born in China, were considered by the U.S. government to be “aliens ineligible for naturalization.” Although the family returned to the United States in 1918, Alason and Cecile would have to wait until 1943 to gain the right of naturalization—despite the fact that their ancestors had fought in the American Revolution. These are just a few examples of the legal injustices faced by mixed (and in this case transnational) families up through the first half of the twentieth century.

Supported by a grant from the ACLS, in 2007 I set out to write a book that would bridge China studies and Asian American studies by comparing ideas concerning Euro-Chinese intermixing, or hybridity, in the U.S. and China between 1842, when China was opened to Western trade, and WW II. As the writing took shape, I realized that this was a story not only about the history of ideas, but also about mixed families and individuals whose lives were shaped by these ideas, and the laws and social proscriptions they informed. I thus went back and did more research: a rare luxury in the academic world. As a result, the manuscript that subsequently evolved also takes up the subject of how mixed families, who faced discrimination from both sides, negotiated their own identities within the constraints and opportunities of their social environments. In keeping with the comparative spirit that first inspired my project, I decided to juxtapose the lived experiences of Eurasians in the United States, China, and Hong Kong, three sites where the “Eurasian problem” became a topic of public discourse…

…Why does it matter for us to gain a more nuanced, less monolithic understanding of the intellectual genealogy of ideas concerning mixed race? The subject of mixed race is particularly germane today with increasing rates of intermarriage in our society. These intermarriages suggest that the old taboos against intermarriage and the barriers between races have diminished in the years since 1967, when the Supreme Court struck down the last of the anti-miscegenation laws. Yet, some of the old presumptions remain. First of all, the very notion of “mixed race,” so frequently celebrated in the contemporary media, entertainment, and advertising industries, relies on the presumption that there are “pure races” to begin with. My research aims to debunk this presumption by adding to the growing scholarship showing intermarriage and intermixing as age-old phenomena, challenging the commonplace certainty by which many feel they can identify those who are “pure Chinese” or “pure white.” Understanding histories of migration, cross-cultural contact, and interracial mixing allows us to see that, in fact, no such groups exist, other than as social and legal constructions, which may vary from country to country, time period to time period…

Read the entire article here.

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The Mystery of Capital: Eurasian Entrepreneurs’ Socio-Cultural Strategies for Commercial Success in Early 20th-Century Hong Kong

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-10-03 01:11Z by Steven

The Mystery of Capital: Eurasian Entrepreneurs’ Socio-Cultural Strategies for Commercial Success in Early 20th-Century Hong Kong

Asian Studies Review
Volume 34, Issue 4, 2010
pages 467-487
DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2010.527919

Victor Zheng
The University of Hong Kong

Siu-Lun Wong
The University of Hong Kong

Unlike economic capital, which is visible and easy to calculate, social capital is intangible and difficult to assess. Although both types of capital are crucial in determining social relations and social behaviour, little solid research has been done on the latter. This paper attempts to use the rags-to-riches story of Sir Robert Ho Tung, a first-generation Hong Kong Eurasian entrepreneur who commenced life without traditional social/cultural capital as the illegitimate son of a Chinese woman and a Dutchman, to illustrate the processes involved in cultivating and accumulating social capital. With special reference to economic development in early colonial Hong Kong and major social transformations in the Chinese mainland, this paper also demonstrates how a group of so-called social/racial “half-caste bastards” (Eurasians) were able to form their own social networks of mutual help and protection. It also considers how they worked to consolidate, mobilise, aggrandise and transmit their social capital. In conclusion, it is argued that Eurasians in early twentieth-century Hong Kong constructed their personal networks like a web, with different interconnecting layers that functioned at different socio-economic-political levels to serve different purposes.

Read the entire article here.

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Being Eurasian: Memories across Racial Divides by Vicky Lee [Book Review]

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive on 2010-12-20 22:34Z by Steven

Being Eurasian: Memories across Racial Divides by Vicky Lee [Book Review]

The Asian Review of Books
2004-12-29

John Walsh, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Communications
School of Management, Shinawatra International University, Bangkok

The creation of Empires inevitably entails contact between coloniser and colonised at many different levels. Owing to the prominence of men in empire creation, it is inevitable that at least some of those connections involve establishing one or more relationships with local women, in the absence of women from the home country. A reasonable amount of attention has been placed on these relationships. Rather less attention has been focused on the results of those unions. The children that resulted from the relationships between British and Chinese in Hong Kong are one subset of the whole range of intercultural births and they share some distinctive characteristics. Unlike the Portuguese, who tended enthusiastically to children into the fold as a means of expanding their overseas holdings, the British of course have always rather looked down on those who cavort with the locals and, since we rather dislike even our own children, certainly have little truck with any others who have a reason to be looked down upon.

Being Eurasian: Memories across Racial Divides by Vicky Lee explores some of the experiences and feelings of a small section of the British-Chinese Hong Kong people, especially during the first part of the 20th century. Her book, which has been developed from a PhD thesis, is in the main clearly and appropriately written, although it does suffer a little from the problems of the multidisciplinary approach, which tends to lack the rigor imposed by any single discipline. However, the one or two false notes may be forgiven for the sake of the histories told, which are of great interest…

Read the entire review here.

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Being Eurasian: Memories Across Racial Divides

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Autobiography, Biography, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Monographs on 2010-12-20 22:17Z by Steven

Being Eurasian: Memories Across Racial Divides

University of Washington Press
2004
296 pages
6″ x 9″
Paperback (9789622096714)
Hardcover (9789622096707)

Vicky Lee
Hong Kong Baptist University

What was it like being a Eurasian in colonial Hong Kong? How is the notion of Eurasianness remembered in some Hong Kong memoirs? Being Eurasian is a description and analysis of the lives of three famous Hong Kong Eurasian memoirists, Joyce Symons, Irene Cheng and Jean Gittins, and explores their very different ways of constructing and looking at their own ethnic identity.

‘Eurasian’ is a term that could have many different connotations, during different periods in colonial Hong Kong, and in different spaces within the European and Chinese communities. Eurasianness could mean privilege, but also marginality, adulteration and even betrayal. Eurasians from different socio-economic sectors had very different perceptions of their own ethnicity, which did not always agree with their externally prescribed identity. Being Eurasian explores the ethnic choices faced by Hong Kong Eurasians of the pre-war generation, as they dealt with the very fluidity of their ethnic identity.

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