Society for East Asian Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Abstract: This panel invites both presenters and audience to negotiate what it means to be Chinese—historically, morally, culturally, and politically— in the changing climates of globalization. Rather than offering a sweeping generalization, each paper offers concrete case studies from different spatio-temporal (dis)junctures. The presentations range from the generational experiences of overseas Chinese in Latin America to the transnational connections among Sinophone Muslims between China and Central Asia. The panelists also scrutinize the Chinese presence in Africa, examining the diverse manifestations of Chineseness in Mauritius and Madagascar. We ask: what are the complex histories, cultural contexts, and power dynamics underlying the heterogeneity of Chineseness today? How to understand the multivalent meanings of Chineseness in the contemporary world through more grounded experiences of individuals and communities in their transnational encounters and networks? Rather than focusing on the macro-level analysis of China's geopolitical influences, this panel aims to address how anthropologists can offer more nuanced pictures of being Chinese in the world without being Sino-centric in both our methodology and analysis.