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Type: Journal article
Title: Early Chinese migrants to Australia: a critique of the sojourner narrative on nineteenth-century Chinese migration to British colonies
Author: Gao, M.
Citation: Asian Studies Review, 2017; 41(3):389-404
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2017
ISSN: 1035-7823
Statement of
Mobo Gao
Abstract: This paper critically assesses the issues surrounding nineteenth-century Chinese migration to British colonies, especially Australia. The issues discussed in the paper include the origin of the term “sojourner” and its relationship to Western colonialism, and the origin of the term huaqiao (overseas Chinese) and its relationship to Chinese nationalism. By being critical of the narrative of the “sojourner” for its cultural essentialist approach to Chinese migration, the paper highlights two important aspects of Chinese migration patterns and behaviour that are often neglected by the sojourner narrative: socioeconomic circumstances at the origin of migration and Western colonialism at the destination of migration. The paper argues that the Chinese publications by the migrants and what happened in Hong Kong at that time demonstrate the consequences of the combination of these two aspects of history. The paper finally observes that the little understood behaviour of the Chinese peasantry migrants appears to be post-modern and transnational.
Keywords: Chinese migration; China–Australia; sojourner; huaqiao; overseas Chinese; colonialism; nationalism; transnational identity; diaspora; essentialism
Rights: © 2017 Asian Studies Association of Australia
DOI: 10.1080/10357823.2017.1336747
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Appears in Collections:Asian Studies publications
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