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Melissa Ann Macauley
Northwestern University (Evanston, IL 60208-0001)
Chaozhou Sojourners: Violence, Migration, and Power in the South China Seas, 1844-1927

I study a southeast coastal region of China in its transnational context. I focus on an important sojourning group of laborers, merchants, and smugglers in their native place (Chaozhou) as well as in Shanghai and Southeast Asia. This group relied on superior institutions of migration, the masterful use of legal and illegal strategies in their interactions with Europeans, and the disciplined advancement of group interests in order to best the Western imperialists at their own international game and emerge with other Chinese sojourning groups as the economic masters of the South China Seas. I hope to reassess the history of capitalism and imperialism in East Asia by applying the social framework of the native place group (as opposed to “the Chinese” or the “Overseas Chinese”) and the geographical framework--however vague--of the uncharted borders of the maritime world in which Chaozhou people lived their lives.

Project fields:
East Asian History

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 8/31/2013