Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Anthologies, Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Social Science on 2017-07-21 18:58Z by Steven

Mixed Race in Asia: Past, Present and Future

250 pages
1 B/W Illus.
Hardback ISBN: 9781138282674
eBook ISBN: 9781315270579

Edited by:

Zarine L. Rocha, Managing Editor
Current Sociology and the Asian Journal of Social Science

Farida Fozdar, Associate Professor in Anthropology and Sociology
University of Western Australia

Mixed racial and ethnic identities are topics of increasing interest around the world, yet studies of mixed race in Asia are rare, despite its particular salience for Asian societies.

Mixed Race in Asia seeks to reorient the field to focus on Asia, looking specifically at mixed race in China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and India. Through these varied case studies, this collection presents an insightful exploration of race, ethnicity, mixedness and belonging, both in the past and present. The thematic range of the chapters is broad, covering the complexity of lived mixed race experiences, the structural forces of particular colonial and post-colonial environments and political regimes, and historical influences on contemporary identities and cultural expressions of mixedness.

Adding significant richness and depth to existing theoretical frameworks, this enlightening volume develops markedly different understandings of, and recognizes nuances around, what it means to be mixed, practically, theoretically, linguistically and historically. It will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral and other researchers interested in fields such as Race and Ethnicity, Sociology and Asian Studies.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction: Mixed Race in Asia / Zarine L. Rocha and Farida Fozdar
  • Section One: China and Vietnam
    • Chapter One: “A Class by Themselves”: Battles over Eurasian Schooling in Late-19th-Century Shanghai / Emma J. Teng
    • Chapter Two: Mixing Blood and Race: Representing Hunxue in Contemporary China / Cathryn Clayton
    • Chapter Three: Métis of Vietnam: An Historical Perspective on Mixed-Race Children from the French Colonial Period / Christina Firpo
  • Section Two: South Korea and Japan
    • Chapter Four: Developing bilingualism in a largely monolingual society: Southeast Asian marriage migrants and multicultural families in South Korea / Mi Yung Park
    • Chapter Five: Haafu Identity in Japan: half, mixed or double? / Alexandra Shaitan and Lisa J. McEntee-Atalianis
    • Chapter Six: Claiming Japaneseness: recognition, privilege and status in Japanese-Filipino ‘mixed’ ethnic identity constructions / Fiona-Katharina Seiger
  • Section Three: Malaysia and Singapore
    • Chapter Seven: Being “Mixed” in Malaysia: Perspectives on Ethnic Diversity / Caryn Lim
    • Chapter Eight: Chinese, Indians and the Grey Space in between: Acceptance of Malaysian Chindians in a plural society / Rona Chandran
    • Chapter Nine: ‘Our Chinese’: The Mixedness of Peranakan Chinese Identities in Kelantan, Malaysia / Pue Giok Hun
    • Chapter Ten: Eurasian as Multiracial: mixed race, gendered categories and identity in Singapore / Zarine L. Rocha
  • Section Four: India and Indonesia
    • Chapter Eleven: Is the Anglo-Indian ‘Identity Crisis’ a Myth? / Robyn Andrews
    • Chapter Twelve: When Hybridity Encounters Hindu Purity Fetish: Anglo-Indian Lived Experiences in an Indian Railway Town / Anjali Gera Roy
    • Chapter Thirteen: Sometimes white, sometimes Asian: Boundary-making among transnational mixed descent youth at an international school in Indonesia / Danau Tanu
    • Chapter Fourteen: Class, Race and Being Indo (Eurasian) in Colonial and Postcolonial Indonesia / Ros Hewett
  • Afterword / Paul Spickard
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Call for papers: “Mixed Race” in Asia

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Media Archive, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2015-07-31 20:00Z by Steven

Call for papers: “Mixed Race” in Asia


This edited volume seeks to focus attention on the neglected topic of “mixed race” in the Asian region. “Mixed race” identities have been the subject of growing scholarly interest over the past two decades. In multicultural societies, increasing numbers of people of mixed ancestry are identifying themselves outside of traditional racial categories, challenging systems of racial classification and sociological understandings of “race”.

There is a growing body of work emerging in the North American and British contexts. However, understandings and experiences of “mixed race” across different national contexts have not been explored in significant depth. Increasing research is being undertaken in the Australian/Pacific region, but research on “mixed race” in Asia has lagged behind. The proposed volume expands the field of research to include the Asian region. It explores these dilemmas through a series of case studies from around Asia, a region unique in its diversity of cultures, ethnicities, languages and histories.

In many countries in Asia, racial, ethnic and cultural mixing has a long and fascinating history, and narratives around “mixed race” have developed in vastly different ways. From established identities such as Anglo-Indians in India, to Eurasians in Singapore and Peranakan identity in Southeast Asia, to newer ones like Hafus in Japan, individuals of mixed heritage have diverse experiences across the region. These experiences have been shaped by a range of political contexts and levels of acceptance. This volume seeks to draw out these experiences, as well as the social and structural factors affecting mixedness both historically and today.

Book Overview

The proposed book will be edited by Associate Professor Farida Fozdar (University of Western Australia) and Dr Zarine Rocha (National University of Singapore).

It will include an introduction written by the editors surveying the current condition of the field of scholarship in the region, putting this in an international context. This will be followed by up to 15 chapters of original research by a selection of senior, mid and early career researchers across a range of disciplines. We particularly welcome contributions addressing “mixed race” in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Tibet.

Please send your abstracts (150-200 words) and bio (50-100 words) to: Dr Zarine L. Rocha at z.l.rocha@ajss.sg.

Deadline: 31 July 2015

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Race and Justice in Transnational Perspective: “Race in Motion: Traversing the Transnational Emotionscape of White Beauty in Indonesia”

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Live Events, Media Archive, Oceania, United States, Women on 2013-09-05 03:39Z by Steven

Race and Justice in Transnational Perspective: “Race in Motion: Traversing the Transnational Emotionscape of White Beauty in Indonesia”

Seminar Series: Race and Justice in Transnational Perspective
University of California, Merced
California Room
5200 North Lake Rd.
Merced, California 95343
2013-10-31, 10:30 PDT (Local Time)

L. Ayu Saraswati, Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies
University of Hawai‘i, Manoa

In this talk, Saraswati explores how feelings and emotions—Western constructs as well as Indian, Javanese, and Indonesian notions such as rasa and malu—contribute to and are constitutive of transnational and gendered processes of racialization. Employing “affect” theories and feminist cultural studies as a lens through which to analyze a vast range of materials, including the Old Javanese epic poem Ramayana, archival materials, magazine advertisements, commercial products, and numerous interviews with Indonesian women, she argues that it is how emotions come to be attached to certain objects and how they circulate that shape the “emotionscape” of white beauty in Indonesia.

The seminar series “Race and Justice in Transnational Perspective” is organized by Tanya Golash-Boza, Nigel Hatton, and David Torres-Rouff. The event is co-sponsored by the UC Center for New Racial Studies, Sociology, and SSHA.

For more information, click here.

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Hybrid Identity: Family, Photography and History in Colonial Indonesia

Posted in Articles, History, Live Events, Oceania on 2013-01-23 19:12Z by Steven

Hybrid Identity: Family, Photography and History in Colonial Indonesia

Undergraduate Journal of Gender and Women’s Studies
Volume 1, Issue 1 (2012)
15 pages

Sani Montclair
Department of Gender and Women’s Studies
University of California, Berkeley

As members of my family lose memories and pass away, I desire to take an even tighter grip on their narrative and the recollection of their story; their distant past has become my present exploration. I travel daily to the Indies, searching through black and white photographic albums, tracing the history of my great-grandparents and grandparents. What are these photographs conveying? Whose eyes were they for and most importantly, what story are they telling?

My Grandmother, Catherine Noordraven (or Omi) was born in Chimahi, Java in 1916. Her mother (Hubertina Samson) was an Indonesian nurse and her father (Otto Noordraven), who was born in Holland, was a Dutch soldier in the military. Omi had a middle/upper class childhood upbringing and had a brother who, like his father, served in the Dutch military. The photographic albums tell the story of their travels throughout many different places in Sumatra and Indonesia, due to Otto’s military post. The photographs of the women in the albums depict a life of leisure, showing bicycle riding, swimming and posed portraits in the yard. The photographs of the men usually illustrate militarization; the men are customarily in uniform or standing in front of government buildings. These photographs represent a highly gendered, racialized and performative colonial history.

My grandfather, Bob Jan vanderSpek (or Opi) was a Dutchman born in Bondowoso, Java in 1924. His father, Johannes Antonius Maria vanderSpek was an electrical engineer and mother, Cornelia Ann Maria vanLeuween was a stay at home mother. All of the photographs I have from his life are from the 1920s-30s and were sent to Holland before World War Two. The War left Opi with nothing; both his parents were killed and he was left with no belongings.

History depends on memory (as orally recounted or documented) as the only way through which actual experience can be retrieved. On the other hand, memory is constantly subject to change, influenced by later experiences (Cote 12).

The lines in this paper will move between history and memory, recalling a time in the Dutch East Indies when European identities and performances signified relations of power. The Dutch colonized the Indonesian islands and for two hundred years took Javanese and Indonesian women as their servants, sexual partners and wives. By the 1940s, there were numerous families of mixed racial backgrounds living in Java who were performing within the structures of a European identity. Uncovering the intersectional politics of hybrid identity is the primary focus of this paper. These mixed identities are revealed through a history of photographs in my family photo albums from the 1920s to the 1930s. The photographic albums in my possession document my family’s story during colonial rule. They narrate pieces of history and concurrently situate their racial and gendered position in the Dutch East Indies. The albums and interviews tell stories of my grandparents’ childhoods and simultaneously explore the complexities of state and homeland. Marrying a white European man was common for indigenous women, in high colonial times, and along with my great-grandmother and grandmother, my mother also married a European white man. The ruling class globally and specifically in Indonesia was white, and the whitening of my relatives’ bloodlines gave the women of color in my family higher class and racialized status. The family photo albums in my possession, along with interviews, allow me to expose these identities from the colonial model to the post-colonial. Structured through the complexities and intersectionality of performance, race, class and gender, these albums and interviews will be used as my primary source in crafting a story about citizenship and belonging…

Read the entire article here.

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The Social World of Batavia: Europeans and Eurasians in Colonial Indonesia (Second Edition)

Posted in Anthropology, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs on 2012-09-28 15:27Z by Steven

The Social World of Batavia: Europeans and Eurasians in Colonial Indonesia (Second Edition)

University of Wisconsin Press
April 2009 (First Published in 1983)
312 pages
6 x 9  
14 b/w illustrations

Jean Gelman Taylor, Associate Professor of History
University of New South Wales

In the seventeenth century, the Dutch established a trading base at the Indonesian site of Jacarta. What began as a minor colonial outpost under the name Batavia would become, over the next three centuries, the flourishing economic and political nucleus of the Dutch Asian Empire. In this pioneering study, Jean Gelman Taylor offers a comprehensive analysis of Batavia’s extraordinary social world—its marriage patterns, religious and social organizations, economic interests, and sexual roles. With an emphasis on the urban ruling elite, she argues that Europeans and Asians alike were profoundly altered by their merging, resulting in a distinctive hybrid, Indo-Dutch culture.

Original in its focus on gender and use of varied sources—travelers’ accounts, newspapers, legal codes, genealogical data, photograph albums, paintings, and ceramics—The Social World of Batavia, first published in 1983, forged new paths in the study of colonial society. In this second edition, Gelman offers a new preface as well as an additional chapter tracing the development of these themes by a new generation of scholars.

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Racial Classification and History

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, History, Law, Louisiana, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-12-18 02:20Z by Steven

Racial Classification and History

376 pages
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-8153-2602-1

Edited by

E. Nathaniel Gates (1955-2006)
Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law
Yeshiva University

Explores the concept of “race”

The term “race,” which originally denoted genealogical or class identity, has in the comparatively brief span of 300 years taken on an entirely new meaning. In the wake of the Enlightenment it came to be applied to social groups. This ideological transformation coupled with a dogmatic insistence that the groups so designated were natural, and not socially created, gave birth to the modern notion of “races” as genetically distinct entities. The results of this view were the encoding of “race” and “racial” hierarchies in law, literature, and culture.

How “racial” categories facilitate social control

The articles in the series demonstrate that the classification of humans according to selected physical characteristics was an arbitrary decision that was not based on valid scientific method. They also examine the impact of colonialism on the propagation of the concept and note that “racial” categorization is a powerful social force that is often used to promote the interests of dominant social groups. Finally, the collection surveys how laws based on “race” have been enacted around the world to deny power to minority groups.

A multidisciplinary resource

This collection of outstanding articles brings multiple perspectives to bear on race theory and draws on a wider ranger of periodicals than even the largest library usually holds. Even if all the articles were available on campus, chances are that a student would have to track them down in several libraries and microfilm collections. Providing, of course, that no journals were reserved for graduate students, out for binding, or simply missing. This convenient set saves students substantial time and effort by making available all the key articles in one reliable source.

Table of Contents

  • Volume Introduction
  • The Crime of Color—Paul Finkelman
  • Reflections on the Comparative History and Sociology of Racism—George M. Fredrickson
  • The Italian, a Hindrance to White Solidarity in Louisiana, 1890-1898—George E. Cunningham
  • Cornerstone and Stumbling Block: Racial Classification and the Late Colonial State in Indonesia—C. Fasseur
  • Racial Restrictions in the Law of Citizenship—Ian Haney Lopez
  • The Prerequisite Cases—Ian Haney Lopez
  • Blackface Minstrelsy and Jacksonian Ideology—Alexander Saxton
  • Introduction: Historical Explanations of Racial Inequality—Alexander Saxton
  • Sexual Affronts and Racial Frontiers: European Identities and the Cultural Politics of Exclusion in Colonial Southeast Asia—Ann Stoler
  • Irish-American Workers and White Racial Formation in the Antebellum United States—David R. Roediger
  • The Race Question and Liberalism: Casuistries in American Constitutional Law—Stanford M. Lyman
  • Introduction: From the Social Construction of Race to the Abolition of Whiteness—David R. Roediger
  • Acknowledgments
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Barack Obama in Hawai’i and Indonesia: The Making of a Global President

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Barack Obama, Biography, Books, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2011-10-24 18:46Z by Steven

Barack Obama in Hawai’i and Indonesia: The Making of a Global President

ABC-CLIO Praeger
September 2011
276 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-313-38533-9
Electronic ISBN: 978-0-313-38534-6

Dinesh Sharma, Senior Fellow
Institute for International and Cross-Cultural Research
St. Francis College, New York

Distinguishing itself from the mass of political biographies of Barack Obama, this first interdisciplinary study of Obama’s Indonesian and Hawai’ian years examines their effect on his adult character, political identity, and global world-view.

Barack Obama is the first American president born and raised in Hawai’i, the most diverse state in the Union, and the first American president to have spent a significant part of his childhood in a Muslim-majority nation, namely, Indonesia. What effect did these—and other early experiences—have on the man who is now, arguably, the world’s most popular political leader?

The first 18 years of President Obama’s life, from his birth in 1961 to his departure for college in 1979, were spent in Hawai’i and Indonesia. These years fundamentally shaped the traits for which the adult Obama is noted—his protean identity, his nuanced appreciation of multiple views of the same object, his cosmopolitan breadth of view, and his self-rooted “outpost” patriotism. Barack Obama in Hawai’i and Indonesia: The Making of a Global President is the first study to examine, in fascinating detail, how his early years impacted this unique leader.

Existing biographies of President Obama are primarily political treatments. Here, cross-cultural psychologist and marketing consultant Dinesh Sharma explores the connections between Obama’s early upbringing and his adult views of civil society, secular Islam, and globalization. The book draws on the author’s on-the-ground research and extensive first-hand interviews in Jakarta; Honolulu; New York; Washington, DC; and Chicago to evaluate the multicultural inputs to Obama’s character and the ways in which they prepared him to meet the challenges of world leadership in the 21st century.


  • Foreword
  • Photographs
  • Timelines
  • Figures
  • Appendices


  • Offers the first systematic study of Barack Obama’s Indonesian and Hawai’ian years and their effect on his adult character and political identity
  • Shows how Obama’s early experiences fostered a repertoire of social and psychological skills ideally suited to dealing with the complex cultural and geopolitical issues that confront 21st-century America
  • Provides new keys to understanding Obama by looking at the varied cultural and religious influences that shaped his attitudes, beliefs, and hybrid cultural identity
  • Examines Ann Dunham’s doctoral dissertation, based on her social anthropological fieldwork in Indonesia, for clues to the perceptual prisms she inculcated in her son, Barack Obama
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Memories of Interracial Contacts and Mixed Race in Dutch Cinema

Posted in Articles, Europe, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive on 2011-04-04 00:57Z by Steven

Memories of Interracial Contacts and Mixed Race in Dutch Cinema

Journal of Intercultural Studies
Volume 28, Issue 1 (2007)
Pages 69 – 82
DOI: 10.1080/07256860601082947

Pamela Pattynama, Professor of Media and Culture
University of Amsterdam

This essay explores the (post)colonial relationship between the present-day Netherlands and its former colony the Dutch East Indies—a continuing relationship that has generated a wide range of memories. Exploring two Dutch films on the colonial past and comparing them with two autobiographical writings of Dutch writers of mixed race, it argues that the recurrent theme of interracial contacts emerges as the privileged metaphor for the relation between Holland and its ex-colony. A recurring feature of Dutch representations of interracial contacts, it is specifically the figure of the Indonesian concubine, the so-called nyai, which continues to obsess the male gaze. The essay concludes that through their focus on loss, separation and failure in representing interraciality, the films speak primarily to the incapacity of the Dutch nation to engage effectively with its colonial past.

Read or purchase the article here.

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The Eurasians of Indonesia: A Problem and Challenge in Colonial History

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Media Archive, Oceania, Religion on 2011-01-02 23:45Z by Steven

The Eurasians of Indonesia: A Problem and Challenge in Colonial History

Journal of Southeast Asian History
Volume 9, Issue 2 (1968)
pages 191-207
DOI: 10.1017/S021778110000466X

Paul W. van der Veur, Professor of History
Australian National University

Persons of mixed European and Asian parentage appeared in the Indonesian archipelago shortly after the arrival of the first “Westerners” in the sixteenth century. Although most of them were absorbed by the indigenous population, some were not and came to constitute a separate, identifiable group. The main reason, apart from paternal pride, seems to have been religious. Christianity, especially during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, encouraged a strong feeling of responsibility toward the biracial offspring of non-European women. A moral obligation was felt to baptize the child and give it the name of the father. Legal rules and regulations facilitated the process: the European father, for example, could “recognize” his natural child by a non-European woman, adopt it, or request a “Letter of legitimation”. Possession of “the status of European” in the nineteenth century permitted persons of mixed descent to benefit educationally from the rapid expansion of “European” (i.e. Dutch) schools. Finally, the Dutch nationality law of 1892—based squarely on the jus sanguinis principle—contained the crucial provision that all those who were considered Europeans when the act came into force (July 1, 1893)—including those who were legally assimilated and socially a part of the European group—became Dutch citizens.

Read or purchase the article here.

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