Project

Swatow Sojourners: Crime and Migration in the South China Seas, 1856-1945

Program

China Studies Program Postdoctoral Fellowships , ACLS Fellowship Program

Department

History

Abstract

My research explores the central role of southeast coastal Chinese in the development of capitalism in 19th-century East and Southeast Asia. I focus on an important Chinese sojourning group of laborers and traders in their native place, Chaozhou-Shantou [Swatow; Teochiu], and in Shanghai, the British Straits Settlements, and French Indochina. This is a study of a Chinese local place in transnational context, exploring how the South China Seas region shaped the economy, politics, and society of southeast coastal China, and how southeast coastal Chinese helped shape the modern world. It is an investigation into the tension between cosmopolitanism and provincialism in a social context. It also examines the relationship between criminality and the accumulation of great wealth in the 19th c.