Publishing about Asia in Academic Journals and Book Series (Roundtable)

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1) David Howell, Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies

2) Inge Klompmakers, Brill

3) Jennifer Munger, Journal of Asian Studies

4) Bettina Gramlich-Oka, Monumenta Nipponica
Session 2: Room 252

Straddling Cultures: Sinophone Communities in Contemporary East Asia

Organizer/Chair: Ngu Ik Tien, University of Malaya

Straddling cultures has been a common experience not only to the ethnic Chinese of Southeast Asia but also to the Sinophone communities residing in the East Asian region outside of Mainland China. The intersection of cultures has caused feelings of anxiety and displacement, but it also encourages cultural innovation in the adaptation process. As for the ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia, the interplay among culture, ethnicity and nationality has constantly shaped their identity and way of participation in national society. For instance, they have to answer the assumptive question posed by local politicians even the academia whether their ethnicity and cultural identification would reduce their nationality. Meanwhile, the rise of China as a global power has spawned mixed feelings among Sinophone communities in both Southeast and Northeast Asian societies towards China. In recent years, terms such as Sinophone (huayu yuxi) and Chinese people (huaren) are gaining popularity among Chinese overseas communities and scholars in indicating a specific type of belonging that base on cultural institution rather than location (China-centric). Among them, some express their view of nonequivalent between Chinese culture and ethnicity and envision a creolized Chinese community as a sub-ethnic category. This panel attempts to present the complexity of cultural identification of Sinophone groups in the contemporary East Asia by outlining how our study subjects counter the conventional categorization and assessment of culture, ethnicity and nationality. It addresses the questions of language, heritage, organizational life and so forth in the contemporary national politics and global society.

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