On April 18-19, the University of Texas at Austin will host a conference on "TransPacific China in the Cold War."
This conference explores the Cold War politicization of overseas Chinese communities extending from Hong Kong to Taiwan, the U.S., and Southeast Asia through cultural, refugee, and exchange programs intended to divide them into either the communist or "free" world in terms of allegiance but also mobility. As with other parts of the globe, these communities expanded with influxes of many refugees leaving newly Communist areas.
These communities became important sites of cultural Cold War production in the global contest for the "hearts and minds" of Chinese people throughout the Pacific region. Refugee relief outreach, educational programs, and cultural products such as cinema, popular literature, and print journalism with political aims emerged from both the PRC and Taiwan as well as US-supported organizations based in Hong Kong and Chinese communities in American and Southeast Asian cities. Through such programs and activities, both Communist and "free" world powers courted the support of overseas Chinese by representing the superiority and superior inclusiveness of their respective political and economic ideologies--hence the themes of intimacy but also of alienation--as many ethnic Chinese found themselves unable to conform or adjust. Both sides tried to demonstrate political, social, and cultural commensurabilities to populations of refugees who oftentimes were traumatized by their loss of home, families, and friends and took a while in order to re-establish, if at all, a new sense of rootedness and belonging. Bringing together literary, cultural studies, and historical scholars from the US, Canada, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, this conference tracks the reconfiguration of Chinese diaspora across the Cold War's bifurcated politicization of mobility, cultural flows, and the politics of options for resettlement that produced new formations of ethnic and national identity, community, and transnational activity so characteristic of the twenty-first century world.
For more information, please see:
Free and open to the public, but registration is required. See web site for details.
Madeline Y. Hsu
Director, Center for Asian American Studies
Associate Professor, Department of History
University of Texas at Austin
1 University Station G2200
Austin, TX 78712
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