RAM Dialogue | Sailing Slowly Back to China: Reflections on the Identities of Foreign-Born Chinese Through Literature
Feb 7, 2020 Friday 19:00 - 20:30
Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai 20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District)
Malaysian-Chinese writer HUANG Jinshu has often coined the phrase “a boat sailing slowly back to China” in his novels, as a metaphor for understanding the identity of Malaysian-Chinese. For the Malaysian-Chinese community, China is both a homeland and a faraway place, with this “boat”, about to sail but has not set off yet, coming to symbolize their foreign-born Chinese identity, as it rocks and sways somewhere in the sea between Malaysia and China. To be sure, the Chinese have been migrating abroad since before the state of Malaysia was even established, and one can find traces of Chinese immigration in Southeast Asia, the Americas, Europe and even Africa. Their Chinese roots may have been deliberately concealed during assimilation, or they may have been preserved in the local culture and customs, or they may have gradually become a sensitive subject due to changes in geopolitics, as they shift, transform and are reconstructed in the journeys to and from China. One could say that the history of foreign-born Chinese is also the history of “China” within these geopolitical changes — a China that is cultural, historical, and also political.
Our dialogue at RAM will begin with changes in the identity of foreign-born Chinese, and will revolve around how developments in geopolitics have affected this identity. Focusing on the experiences of North American and Southeast Asian Chinese, we will investigate how changes in China in the past century have influenced the identities of foreign-born Chinese around the world, and how the Chinese diaspora is responding to the rapid development of present-day China. With China’s recent rise, what does it mean now to be a Chinese or a foreign-born Chinese? And how do their views towards their own identities help us in contemplating the symbol and significance that is “China”?
WANG Chih-ming, PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Presently an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of European and American Studies in Taiwan, associate professor at both Tsinghua University’s Department of Sociology and Jiaotong University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, as well as chief editor of the academic journal Cultural Studies. Recipient of Academia Sinica’s 2014 Junior Research Investigators Award, the National Science Council’s 2009 Wu Ta-You Memorial Award, and the American Studies Association (ASA) 2008 Yasuo Sakakibara Prize. Author of the book Transpacific Articulations: Student Migration and the Remaking of Asian America (University of Hawaii Press, 2013); publications co-edited include Precarious Belongings: Affect and Nationalism (with WU Peisong, published by Rowman and Littlefield International), The Diaoyu Islands within the Network of Southeast Asia: From Inheritance, Transformation, to Progress (with LIU Rongsheng and CHEN Guangxing, published by Tsinghua University Press, 2012), and Initiation, Revolution, Reflection: Forty Years of the Diaoyu Islands Movement (with XIE Xiaoqin and LIU Rongsheng, published by Tsinghua University Press, 2010). Wang’s research interests include Asian-American literature, cultural studies, as well as the history of ideas and academic disciplines. He is currently researching the history of the academic discipline of foreign literature.... Read More
Free admission, reservation is required.