The University of Sydney China Studies Centre
Chinese Heritage in the Indian Ocean : A Cultural Anthropological Perspective
Date: Friday 13 August 2021
Time: 12:00 pm–1:00 pm AEST
About this event
Organised by the Department of Chinese Studies in collaboration with the China Studies Centre ‘Language, Literature, Culture and Education’ cluster, The Australian Society for Asian Humanities and the Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture at UNSW.
Early overseas Chinese communities and their legacies are often disconnected from and overshadowed by grand historiographic narratives that attempt to legitimise China’s footprint in the world today. Drawing on the strength of a museological project commissioned by the Foshan municipal government, Guangdong, on the Cantonese societies in the Southwest Indian Ocean, this talk will unveil with anthropological evidence how during the late 19th and early 20th centuries Chinese migrants established themselves along the western coast of the Indian Ocean (i.e. the Mascarene Islands, Madagascar, Tanzania and Mozambique) and how varieties of Chinese heritage in this particular region are being rediscovered and re-evaluated for the present-day political and economic needs. It offers an alternative and bottom-up view of the role culture plays in China’s global strategy, distinct from the official tones of cultural diplomacy and people-to-people exchange.
About the speaker: Xuefei Shi is a postdoctoral researcher in the ERC-project TransOcean at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), Norway, and currently an affiliated researcher at the Department of Chinese Studies, USYD. His research looks into the mobilities of Chinese fishermen and fishing communities in the Indian Ocean, in particular Madagascar. With a Ph.D. in development studies from Radboud University, the Netherlands, he has extensive fieldwork experience in East Africa in the past decade.
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