Rose Quong becomes Chinese

An Australian in London and New York

Angela Woollacott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The story of Rose Quong (1879-1972) reveals how an Australian learned to use the pervasive Orientalism of the early twentieth century to her own ends. Quong claimed an essential ability to interpret Chinese culture, forging a career out of lecturing and writing on Chinese literature and traditions, and performing her own Chineseness. She juggled her mixed Australian, British and Chinese heritage in both London and New York, showing the plasticity and transportability of ethnic identities. Quong's story points to the role of London as imperial metropolis in the staging of an Australian's transnational career, even for an Australian whose imaginary homeland was China. The fact that Quong was embraced by the Australian community in London adds a new perspective on White Australia, even though that community was instrumental in steering her towards Chineseness and Orientalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-31
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Historical Studies
Volume38
Issue number129
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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