Changing Identities of the Southeast Asian Chinese Since World War II
In June 1985, a symposium, "Changing Identities of the Southeast Asian Chinese since World War II" was held at the Australian National University in Canberra. This volume includes many of the papers from that symposium presented by ANU scholars and those from universities elsewhere in Australia, North America and Southeast Asia. Participants looked at the current thinking about the parameters of identity and shared their own research into the complex issues that overlapping categories of identity raise. Identity was chosen as the focus of the, symposium because perceptions of self - whether by others or by the individual Chinese concerned - appear to lie at the heart ' of the present-day Chinese experience in Southeast Asia, It is also evident that identity wears many guises and that we cannot talk about a single Chinese identity when identity can be determined by the different political, social, economic or religious circumstances an individual faces at any given time. One of the distinctive characteristics of all the essays in this volume is that they are written from an historical perspective. While the papers forcus on how recent developments in Southeast Asian society have shaped Chinese identity, they also discuss those changes in terms of the historical matrix from which they developed. Because many of the essays in this volume combine an historical overview with more recent statistical data, it should serve as a useful companion to the increasingly popular case studies in which much of the writing about the Chinese in Southeast Asia is now cast.
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