Organized Panel Session
We propose to hold two consecutive panels on the Chinese in Southeast Asia, envisioned as two sides of the same diasporic coin. The first sees diaspora from the perspective of China, dealing with the historical forms of connection that underpin diasporic movements and their fundamental role in the history of Southeast Asia over the modern period. New scholarship has begun to articulate in detail the long-networked history of kinship, labor, commercial, financial and ethnic lineage arising from Chinese mobilities, showing how these connections continue to shape and define the region, and how the relations between China and its overseas communities operate as material linkages, as much as through the (re)imagination of a ‘homeland’ (Chan 2018). The first panel (Huei-Ying Kuo, Anh Le, Phillip Guingona, Peter Post) will elaborate on some of these Connections. A second panel on Ruptures (Rachel Leow, Seng Guo Quan, Chien-Wen Kung, Nicholas Wong), sets itself the task of probing the boundaries of utility in applying ‘diaspora’ to the multitudinous forms of settlement, creolization, assimilation, and integration that have by necessity accompanied the sedimenting of diasporic communities in Southeast Asia. It interrogates diasporic connectivity as the necessary condition for ruptures, demonstrating how the negotiations of Chinese communities in their differing Southeast Asian contexts across the twentieth century, produce strands of differentiation that challenge any homogenous or reifying account of ‘Chinese diaspora’. Together, the two panels assert the importance of accounting for both connections and ruptures as essential components of a ‘diasporic approach’ to modern Southeast Asian history.