Chinese Among Others: Emigration in Modern Times

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Overview

In this book, distinguished historian Philip A. Kuhn tells the remarkable five-century story of Chinese emigration as an integral part of China's modern history. Although emigration has a much longer past, its "modern" phase dates from the sixteenth century, when European colonialists began to collaborate with Chinese emigrants to develop a worldwide trading system. The author explores both internal and external migration, complementary parts of a far-reaching process of adaptation that enabled Chinese families to deal with their changing social environments. Skills and institutions developed in the course of internal migration were creatively modified to serve the needs of emigrants in foreign lands.

As emigrants, Chinese inevitably found themselves "among others." The various human ecologies in which they lived have faced Chinese settlers with a diversity of challenges and opportunities in the colonial and postcolonial states of Southeast Asia, in the settler societies of the Americas and Australasia, and in Europe. Kuhn traces their experiences worldwide alongside those of the "others" among whom they settled: the colonial elites, indigenous peoples, and rival immigrant groups that have profited from their Chinese minorities but also have envied, feared, and sometimes persecuted them. A rich selection of primary sources allows these protagonists a personal voice to express their hopes, sorrows, and worldviews.

The post-Mao era offers emigrants new opportunities to leverage their expatriate status to do business with a Chinese nation eager for their investments, donations, and technologies. The resulting "new migration," the author argues, is but the latest phase of a centuries-old process by which Chinese have sought livelihoods away from home.

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Editorial Reviews

Chinese Studies
Kuhn's experience in studying Chinese history enables him to offer an interesting perspective on Chinese migration in Chinese Among Others. The book is noteworthy for its ambitious global scope. Kuhn's insightful main argument contends that there is a symbiotic relationship between modern Chinese history and the history of Chinese migration. Chinese Among Others has broken new ground in providing such food for thought.
— Leander Seah
Journal Of Asian Studies
Chinese Among Others is the first book to attempt a synthetic history of Chinese migration around the world from the sixteenth century to the present. . . . [L]ively and accessible . . . appropriate for undergraduate courses while retaining complexity and diverse insights for the specialist. . . . [A] timely achievement that both summarizes the state of the field and offers distinct interpretations, helping readers take stock and move forward in new directions.
— Adam McKeown
H-Net
Demonstrating his remarkable historical and historiographical knowledge, Philip A. Kuhn’s Chinese among Others is the most comprehensive synthetic account of the saga of the modern Chinese diaspora. Nobody else before him has captured the long and complicated process of the Chinese diaspora so clearly and so insightfully. This book represents a landmark in the study of this extremely important topic. . . . This well-researched and well-written book represents a monumental step toward establishing the studies of the Chinese diaspora as a coherent field of inquiry.
— Chen, Yong
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Demonstrating his remarkable historical and historiographical knowledge, Philip A. Kuhn’s Chinese among Others is the most comprehensive synthetic account of the saga of the modern Chinese diaspora. Nobody else before him has captured the long and complicated process of the Chinese diaspora so clearly and so insightfully. This book represents a landmark in the study of this extremely important topic. . . . This well-researched and well-written book represents a monumental step toward establishing the studies of the Chinese diaspora as a coherent field of inquiry.
— Yong Chen
Journal of Asian Studies
Chinese Among Others is the first book to attempt a synthetic history of Chinese migration around the world from the sixteenth century to the present. . . . [L]ively and accessible . . . appropriate for undergraduate courses while retaining complexity and diverse insights for the specialist. . . . [A] timely achievement that both summarizes the state of the field and offers distinct interpretations, helping readers take stock and move forward in new directions.
— Adam McKeown
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online
Demonstrating his remarkable historical and historiographical knowledge, Philip A. Kuhn’s Chinese among Others is the most comprehensive synthetic account of the saga of the modern Chinese diaspora. Nobody else before him has captured the long and complicated process of the Chinese diaspora so clearly and so insightfully. This book represents a landmark in the study of this extremely important topic. . . . This well-researched and well-written book represents a monumental step toward establishing the studies of the Chinese diaspora as a coherent field of inquiry.
— Yong Chen
Chinese Studies - Leander Seah
Kuhn's experience in studying Chinese history enables him to offer an interesting perspective on Chinese migration in Chinese Among Others. The book is noteworthy for its ambitious global scope. Kuhn's insightful main argument contends that there is a symbiotic relationship between modern Chinese history and the history of Chinese migration. Chinese Among Others has broken new ground in providing such food for thought.
Mae M. Ngai
Philip Kuhn has written a comprehensive history of the Chinese diaspora, from premodern southern Chinese maritime networks to transformations wrought by colonialism and war in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Crisply written and sympathetic but not sentimental, Chinese Among Others is magisterial in sweep, concept, and execution.
Wang Gungwu
Philip Kuhn dug deep into the history of China before turning to pursue the many generations of Chinese migrants around the world. He has an astute sensitivity for the lives of dislodged peoples and an exceptional capacity to find the core issues in the subject. This is a remarkable book that offers a unique contribution to the growing field of diasporic Chinese history.
Edgar Wickberg
Philip Kuhn has long been urging us to study the Chinese globally, and in this benchmark volume he skillfully weaves together a tapestry of world Chinese history.
G. William Skinner
An impressive work. The very conception, a world-historical treatment of the Chinese diaspora, is original. For me, the intellectual excitement comes from the fresh perspective that Kuhn qua consummate historian brings to subject matter more often treated in fragmentary fashion by social scientists. Novel conceptualizations and interpretations abound. Kuhn's research is meticulous and his writing is clear. This book will command the attention of China scholars and widen their horizons.
Journal of Asian Studies - Adam McKeown
Chinese Among Others is the first book to attempt a synthetic history of Chinese migration around the world from the sixteenth century to the present. . . . [L]ively and accessible . . . appropriate for undergraduate courses while retaining complexity and diverse insights for the specialist. . . . [A] timely achievement that both summarizes the state of the field and offers distinct interpretations, helping readers take stock and move forward in new directions.
July 2009 The China Journal
Kuhn's conceptual clarity, the enlightening way in which he weaves the story of Chinese migration into both national and global histories, and his vivid writing—supplemented with excerpts from primary sources—makes it an excellent text for students.
Winter 2010 Journal of American Ethnic History
This is a rich and well-written narrative of great ambition, erudition, and insight. It offers compelling and carefully constructed bridges between the fields of Chinese, ethnic, and migration studies.
H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online - Yong Chen
Demonstrating his remarkable historical and historiographical knowledge, Philip A. Kuhn’s Chinese Among Others is the most comprehensive synthetic account of the saga of the modern Chinese diaspora. Nobody else before him has captured the long and complicated process of the Chinese diaspora so clearly and so insightfully. This book represents a landmark in the study of this extremely important topic. . . . This well-researched and well-written book represents a monumental step toward establishing the studies of the Chinese diaspora as a coherent field of inquiry.
The China Journal
Kuhn's conceptual clarity, the enlightening way in which he weaves the story of Chinese migration into both national and global histories, and his vivid writing—supplemented with excerpts from primary sources—makes it an excellent text for students.
Journal of American Ethnic History
This is a rich and well-written narrative of great ambition, erudition, and insight. It offers compelling and carefully constructed bridges between the fields of Chinese, ethnic, and migration studies.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742567498
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Series: State & Society in East Asia Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 452
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Philip A. Kuhn is Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History and East Asian Languages and Civilizations, emeritus, at Harvard University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter 1: Maritime Expansion and Chinese Migration
Chapter 2: Early Colonial Empires and Chinese Migrant Communities
Chapter 3: Imperialism and Mass Emigration
Chapter 4: Communities in the Age of Mass Migration: I. Southeast Asia
Chapter 5: Communities in the Age of Mass Migration: II. Exclusion from, and in, the Settler Societies
Chapter 6: Revolution and "National Salvation"
Chapter 7: Chinese Communities in Postcolonial Southeast Asia
Chapter 8: The New Migration

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