Wednesday, October 8, 2014

"Constructing Chinese Cosmpolitanism: Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese, and Xiamen, 1842-1937" at Pitt, October 10.

A photo of 19th-century Xianmen, from a flyer for this talk last year.

The University of Pittsburgh's Asian Studies Center will present "Constructing Chinese Cosmpolitanism: Southeast Asia, Overseas Chinese, and Xiamen, 1842-1937", a lecture by its Associate Director Dr. James Cook, on October 10. The abstract:
Located on China’s southeast coast, the city of Xiamen had long stood as one of the poles of the Overseas Chinese universe; local merchants had already established a well-defined trading network as early as the 13th century, and over 2 million people departed from the city for Southeast Asia over the course of the 19th century. The global scope of Xiamen’s merchants and their trading networks, the people’s historical roots in diaspora and international commerce, and the distinctive nature of overseas “Chineseness” combined to produce a new narrative of community and development. In many ways Xiamen’s Overseas Chinese became “bridges to modernity” that moved into and out of China. Time abroad within the modernizing confines of colonial Southeast Asia led many returned-émigrés to feel that they alone understood the process of modernization and how to create a truly Chinese modernity. Ultimately their new discourse of modernization was constructed around the commercial wealth of overseas Chinese merchant life, integrated with a revamped Confucianism and a newly discovered historical tradition.
The presentation will be held from 4:00 to 5:00 pm in 4130 Posvar Hall (campus map).