As part of “China’s south,” Southeast Asia has historically assumed a peripheral position when juxtaposed against the power of the Chinese state. In the existing scholarly literature, the power asymmetry is reflected in the ostensible bias where most studies are about China’s presence in or engagement with Southeast Asia rather than the reverse; studies on the presence or influence of Southeast Asia in China have been a marginal enterprise. The present volume aims to fill this void by exploring the historical entanglements and contemporary engagements of Southeast Asia(ns) in China through a Southeast Asian perspective. As China seeks to understand Southeast Asia’s presence in the country on its own terms, it is also engaged in a process of self-discovery and defining where and how it should stand in relation to the region. Departing from the discourse of China as the a priori center dominating the scholarship on China–Southeast Asia relations, the present volume hopes to subvert such power relations in order to bring fresh perspectives on the historical and contemporary contributions of Southeast Asia(ns) in China.
Ying-kit Chan is assistant professor of Chinese Studies at the National University of Singapore.
Chang-Yau Hoon is associate professor and director of the Centre for Advanced Research at Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
Part I: Historical Entanglements:
Chapter 1: At the Crossroads of Empire and Nation: Nanyang Volunteers in Wartime China
Chapter 2: Ethnicity and Frontier Studies in Southwest China: Pan-Thai Nationalism and the Wartime Debate on National Identity, 1932–1945
Chapter 3: Traversing the Migrant Corridor: Singapore’s First Ambassadors to Thailand
Part II: Contemporary Engagements:
Chapter 4: Southeast Asian Studies in China: The Politics and Geopolitics of Knowledge Production
Chapter 5: Responding to China’s Soft Power and People-to-People Exchange: The Case of Indonesia
Chapter 6: Southeast Asian Capital in China: The Role of the State and the Chinese Diaspora
This unique volume is a significant contribution to understanding Southeast Asia's relations with China. Rather than viewing the relationship through the too-familiar perspective of China's impact on the region, this thoughtful and well-researched study reverses the analysis to examine Southeast Asia's roles in, and impact on, China over time. It is a necessary corrective to existing scholarship and a welcome addition to the field, which should be read by all those seeking to understand the "inner history" of interactions between Southeast Asian societies and China.
A valuable and overdue assessment of the neglected side of the China-Southeast Asian connection — Southeast Asian influence in China. Using a multi-disciplinary lens and reflecting sensitivities and forces beyond conventional geo-politics, it is the story of diplomats, labourers, capitalists, scholars, philanthropists and students from “China’s south” who have had a significant impact on politics, economy, and matters of entangled identities and citizenship, in their home countries and land of distant origin.
An unsentimental and self-confident view from the periphery, it speaks to the multitude of interactions that have shaped contemporary international relations and revealed the limits and possibilities of Southeast Asian agency. Stimulating for regional and international relations specialists alike.