ASIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE JAPAN

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     Sixth Asian Studies Conference Japan
    Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23
    Ichigaya Campus of Sophia University

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last update 2002/03/09
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Contact the organizers: Asian Studies Conference (ASCJ) c/o Institute of Asian Cultural Studies, International Christian University 3-10-2 Osawa, Mitaka-shi, Tokyo 181

Session 30
Entering the Era of Globalization ­ Migration, Identity, and Social Networks among Chinese Communities
Chair: Zeng Ying, Keio University
Organizer: Changhui Chi, Academica Sinica

Drawing on ethnographic research, papers of this panel highlight from varying perspectives and from various sites, the current restructuring of the economy and the resulting transformations of relations and political identities among Chinese communities and organizations. These papers examine the dimensions of human agency, conflicts, and global market forces.

This panel merges different fields: sociology, anthropology, political science, and architecture, to examine changes and constants in the current globalization era. The paper on Tan Kah Gee and the emergence of a national architectural style shows that features of ambiguous multi-identities amongst immigrant communities are not exclusive to the transnational era. The paper on the overseas Chinese networks highlights enduring conflicts among overseas Chinese communities; the economic restructuring of the global era having little impact on social relations. The third paper examines under which conditions the process of globalization has encouraged aÅ@new traffic of women. The commodification of Southeast Asian brides is seen to be intrinsically linked with global market forces.

1) Hongzen Wang, National Chung Hsing University. "The Commodification of International Marriages: the Cross-Border Marriage business between Taiwan and Vietnam"

Migration and deterritorialization are one of the consequences of globalization. Yet the subsequent rise in the commodification of expatriate brides has been underrepresented in contemporary research. Socio-demographic factors in the emigrant and the immigrant countries stimulate family-forming migration, while active mediating channels between both parties are indispensable to the successful union. In response, this paper examines the role of mediating agencies responsible for the "recruiting" of Vietnamese brides for migration to Taiwan. The Vietnam-Taiwan case highlights the growing cross-border "immigration industry" involving intermediaries on both sides. Socio-demographic factors have thus stimulated the formation of this market while the restructuring global economy further sustains this transnational transaction, thereby creating a truly commodified international marriage market.

2) Chen Tien-shi, University of Tokyo. "The Network and Identities of Overseas Chinese: Limitations and Vulnerability of Overseas Chinese Networks"

Overseas Chinese are likely to be categorized belonging to a worldwide community supported by transnational networks. This is particularly true of ethnic Chinese entrepreneurs, who are always seen as having the backing of strong, racially exclusive networks that are crucial to expanding their businesses. Arguably overseas Chinese benefit from strong communal ties as evidenced by the multiple "Chinatowns" worldwide. However, some studies tend to exaggerate the role and cohesiveness overseas Chinese networks by only focusing on their alleged successes.

Based both on fieldwork and an extensive, in-depth involvement with Chinese communities in Japan and the U.S., this paper examines the inherent limitations and vulnerability faced by overseas Chinese communal networks by examining both identities and social background.

Chinese of different classes have emigrated widely during various periods of time. The wide variety of experiences limited the development of harmonious social cohesion. Rather Chinese communities are divided along various lines, including the length of stay in the host country, evidenced in terms such as lao huaqiao (early migrants) or xin huaqiao (new migrants). Origin is another criterion that divides overseas Chinese in Japan and the U.S. Finally, areas of conflicts exist in overseas Chinese communities stemming from political and ideological differences. Their support of either the PRC or the ROC can even lead to bloodshed as was witnessed in Yokohama, Japan.

Through the analysis of diverse identities existing within overseas Chinese communities, this study highlights some of the underlying weaknesses that exist in these communal networks. This study thus addresses an area often overlooked in contemporary research on the area.

3) Jiang Bowei, Huafan University and Changhui Chi, Academia Sinica. "Colonialism and the Formation of National Identity: Tan Kah Kee's Nationalism in Architectural Discourse, c. 1910-1950"

The rising tide of Chinese nationalism saw architects and nationalists in the early twentieth century searching for a national architectural style to counteract perceived Western cultural imperialism. The resulting national architectural style was not designed by an architect; rather it was Tan Kah Kee, an overseas Chinese in Singapore, who created it.

The schools he built in Jimei, Fujian province over several decades show a consistent architectural style ­ a Southern Min roof ridge with upturned ends on top of a colonial Western building style originating from Singapore. The style Tan created is locally known as "a Western building with a Chinese round-hat" (yangzhuang wanmao). It predated the "neo-traditional style" that had similar features to Tan's, emerging in Nanking during the 1920s.

The proposed research examines the merging of Tan's national identity and his cultural ancestry as expressed in architectural terms. The research posits that Tan's hybrid architectural style (yang zhuang wanmao) illuminates ambiguous multiple identities of Chinese immigrants of Tan's times. Prior to the rise of newly independent states in Southeast Asia following the end of the Second World War, Chinese immigrants in post-colonial Singapore were caught in a paradoxical stage-a period of ambiguous status in both China and the place they may also have considered as home in Southeast Asia. Tan's architectural discourse reveals the way he expressed both his national identity and his vision of a colonial world to which he was subordinate.

Discussant: Zeng Ying, Keio University

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