Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - When Gender and Ethnicity Encountered the Host Societies: Overseas Chinese Land Purchase and Lawsuit in Hoi an and Batavia, 1700s-1800s

Friday, March 23
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Location: Tyler, Mezzanine Level

This paper uses land contracts collected in Hội An chōka bunshū (Documents of Merchant Family House in Hoi An) and lawsuits kept in Gong An Bu (Minutes of the Board Meetings of the Chinese Council [in Batavia]) to reveal Chinese women’s socioeconomic activities in two host societies, Hoi An under the Quảng Nam regime in central and southern Vietnam and Batavia under the colonial Dutch dominance in Java, from the 1700s to 1800s. Studies of overseas Chinese and their communities in early modern Southeast Asia have attracted the attention of many scholars for a long time. However, women’s role in those communities, including their contribution to local economy and their social acculturation need more exploration. By using the contracts and legal documents, I argue that overseas Chinese or hybrid native-born women inherited the relative equal status of Southeast Asian “tradition” and played a significant role in economic activities. Not only did their property purchasing and lawsuit filing create the base with land and housing, but also the real home for the ethnic Chinese, and it also made the durable commercial activity and public participation possible as well as changing the scene of the cities as their new “home.”

Boyi Chen

Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri

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4 - When Gender and Ethnicity Encountered the Host Societies: Overseas Chinese Land Purchase and Lawsuit in Hoi an and Batavia, 1700s-1800s



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