NEW DATE | The Patriarchy of Diaspora with Dr. Rachel Leow

Wednesday April 17, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

New Event Date

This event has been postponed to Wednesday April 17, 2024 at 12:00 - 1:30 pm PT.

The UBC History Empires and (Post-)Colonialisms in the Asia-Pacific Cluster is pleased to invite you to a seminar with Dr. Rachel Leow on her recent article “The Patriarchy of Diaspora: Race Fantasy and Gender Blindness in Chen Da’s Studies of the Nanyang Chinese.”

This event has been postponed to Wednesday April 17, 2024 at 12:00 – 1:30 pm PT.

In “The Patriarchy of Diaspora,” Leow:

“critically appraises the earliest sociological investigations of Nanyang (South Seas) Chinese communities by the sociologist Chen Da (1892–1975). By exploring Chen’s corpus of work and highlighting systemic blind spots of race and gender, the study reveals the normative rather than empirical quality of his sociological elaboration of the huaqiao (overseas Chinese). Tracing the genesis of his research and his travels through Southeast Asia, it shows that, at each stage, Chen’s investigations, academic networks, connections he made with his local informants, and even his collaborations with his principal translator offered an understanding of the world beyond a patriarchal, patriotic Chinese diaspora that he declined to fully explore. The paper thus offers an intimate window into the historically contingent conceptual work that went into constructing the Chinese “diaspora,” and it highlights the need to exercise caution in making ahistorical use of social science studies of overseas Chinese.”

Interested participants should read the article “The Patriarchy of Diaspora,” and are encouraged (though not required) to consultDr Leow’s interview about this article and her later article “Beyond Diaspora’s Horizons.” These readings will also be circulated as PDF files to the cluster mailing list before the meeting. Participants are also encouraged to attend Dr Leow’s lecture at 6:00 PM on the same day of the cluster meeting (RSVP here).

If you are interested in joining the cluster, please contact Quinton Huang ( to be added to the mailing list, and please direct other inquiries to Ryan Sun (

About the Speaker

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. She is the 2024 Burge Lecturer invited by UBC History graduate students. On March 19, 2024 at 6:00 pm PT, she will present a talk entitled “Blood, Borders and Diaspora’s Horizons” at the Asian Centre Auditorium.