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2. Sojourners: The Chinese Overseas


1. lecture

This lecture provides an overview of Chinese migration patters, and the specific nature of the Chinese overseas communities.

2. seminar discussion

  • How did the Chinese state treat Chinese migrants?
  • What factors drove the Chinese overseas?
  • How did the Chinese migrants contribute to the development of global connections?

3. core readings

  • Lynn Pan, Sons of the Yellow Emperor: The Story of the Overseas Chinese (1990). (read chapters 1-2 on the years 1500-1800)
  • Wang Gungwu, ‘Merchants without Empire: The Hokkien Sojourning Communities, in Tracy, ed., The Rise of Merchant Empires

4. essay questions

  • How far is 'sojourner' an approriate term for a Chinese migrant?
  • In what ways did the Chinese migrations maintain connections to their homeland?
  • Were connections to the homeland more significant for shaping the Chinese diaspora than their adopted homes?

5. further readings

  • Peter Borschberg, 'Ethnicity, Language and Culture in Melaka after the Transition from Portuguese to Dutch Rule (Seventeenth Century)' in Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 83.2 (2010): 93-117.
  • Philip Kuhn, Chinese among others
  • Wang Gungwu, The Chinese Overseas: From Earthbound China to the Quest for Autonomy (2000)
  • Bolt, Paul J. Looking to the Diaspora: The Overseas Chinese and China's Economic Development, 1978-1994. Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 5. 3 (1996)
  • Ha, Marie-Paule. 'Cultural Identities in the Chinese Diaspora' in Mots Pluriels 7 (1998)
  • Barbara Voss, 'The Archaeology of Overseas Chinese Communities' World Archaeology 37.3 (2005): 424-439

6. podcasts


7. external links

Chinese silk trader showing his wares

Chinese merchant showing his wares to a European merchant. Victoria and Albert Museum