NEW DATE: 2024 Burge Lecture | “Blood, Borders and Diaspora’s Horizons” with Dr. Rachel Leow

Tuesday April 16, 2024
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Post image courtesy of Chin Choon Sang, via Rachel Leow.

Blood, Borders and Diaspora’s Horizons: Chinese Entanglements in the Southern Seas

The Burge Lecture is an annual endowed lecture organized by the History Graduate Students Association and made possible by a generous donation from UBC alumnus William Burge. The series provides students, faculty, alumni and community members the opportunity to connect with historians and scholars engaged in exciting research relevant to our times.

UBC Department of History is pleased to announce the 2024 Burge Lecture will be delivered by Dr. Rachel Leow, Associate Professor of Modern East Asian History at Cambridge University.

Light refreshments will be provided. Please register for the event for catering purposes.

This event has been postponed to April 16, 2024, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm PT. Dr. Leow will appear virtually via Zoom.

This event is organized and hosted by the Department of History and co-sponsored by the Department of Asian Studies, the Public Humanities Hub, the Asian Canadian and Asian Migration Program, the Center for Migration Studies, the Center for Chinese Research, and the Center for Southeast Asian Research.

Talk Abstract

How should we write a history of a space whose conventional geographies have been overdetermined by nation-states and national historiographies? The “areas” which our academic specialisms, institutions and politics call “China” and “Southeast Asia” often seem unnaturally separated from each other, on opposite sides of vast historiographical and even disciplinary chasms. This is, I suggest, at the expense of the numerous Asian actors and communities who have historically defined the region’s more natural horizons through itinerance, migratory and diasporic movement, encounter and entanglement. This lecture takes a deep dive into one episode in 1949, telling the story of two individuals whose connected lives were violently sundered by hardening borders between China and Southeast Asia, and whose fates offer a lens both onto the long historical entanglements of this space, as well as their violent foreclosure in an era of mass racialized deportation, nationalism, revolution and civil war.


Presenter Bio

Dr. Rachel Leow is Associate Professor of Modern East Asian History at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Murray Edwards College. Her first book, Taming Babel: Language in the Making of Malaysia, explored the ethnolinguistic constructions of Chineseness and Malayness over the colonial-postcolonial transition in Malaysia; it was published in 2016 and won the 2018 Association for Asian Studies Harry J. Benda Prize. Her recent work explores transregional and transnational connections between China and Southeast Asia, and her next monograph, Diaspora’s Horizons, is under contract with Allen Lane.