What Is This "Chinese" in Overseas Chinese? Sojourn Work and the Place of China's Minority Nationalities in Extraterritorial Chinese-ness

Chris Vasantkumar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay argues that to adequately answer the question its title poses, anthropological approaches to national and transnational China(s) must be grounded in the history of Qing imperial expansion. To this end, it compares and explores the connections between three examples of the sojourn work that has gone into making mobile, multiethnic populations abroad into Overseas Chinese. The first example deals with recent official attempts to project the People's Republic of China's multiethnic vision of Chinese-ness beyond its national borders. The second highlights the importance of the early Chinese nation-state in the making of Overseas Chinese community in Southeast Asia in the first decades of the twentieth century. The final case foregrounds the late imperial routes of nascent Chinese nationalism to argue that, in contrast to much of the current rhetoric on the Chinese diaspora, national and transnational modes of Chinese community emerged together from the ruins of the Qing empire. Together the three examples point to the need to question the usual ways scholars have conceptualized (Overseas) Chinese-ness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-446
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Asian Studies
Volume71
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'What Is This "Chinese" in Overseas Chinese? Sojourn Work and the Place of China's Minority Nationalities in Extraterritorial Chinese-ness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this