Tamarind Sky, a Novel

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Canada, Media Archive, Novels on 2021-07-21 20:52Z by Steven

Tamarind Sky, a Novel

412 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-77133-733-5
ePUB ISBN: 978-1-77133-734-2
PDF ISBN: 978-1-77133-736-6

Thelma Wheatley

When British immigrant Selena Jones marries Aidan Gilmor, a Sinhalese-Eurasian — part British — from Sri Lanka in the 1960s in Toronto, a passionate clash of culture ensues. Selena’s mother in Wales is horrified when Selena brings Aidan home to Wales for the wedding. Back in Toronto, Selena faces further prejudice and disapproval of her “mixed marriage,” despite Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s new “multiculturalism,” which was being encouraged but also resented. She is shocked not only by the reaction of neighbours but by the teachers at the all-White school in Toronto where she teaches, and she pretends that Aidan is a White Canadian. When two poor West Indian and two East Indian children from a new government housing project nearby unexpectedly arrive at the school, Selena is forced to take a stand in their defence. Gradually she learns to face her fears and confront racism. She is drawn into a deeper understanding of her Sri Lankan family, and especially of her father-in-law, a former tea planter under the British, who left Ceylon after Independence in 1956. She sees the effect of colonialism on Aidan and his family, trying to be “British” while caught in the middle of the civil war conflict in Sri Lanka. The revelation of her father-in-law’s secret guilt about the past leads to an inevitable and shocking climax.

Tags: , , , ,

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

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recasting The Half-Caste

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science on 2010-12-19 05:33Z by Steven

Recasting The Half-Caste

Journal of Women’s History
Volume 22, Number 4, Winter 2010
E-ISSN: 1527-2036 Print ISSN: 1042-7961
pages 263-267

Kumari Jayawardena

In Sri Lanka, serious book reviews are not only few and far between, but authors also do not usually reply to reviews of their books. So while it was a real windfall to receive four reviews simultaneously, to comment briefly in reply is a rather unusual task. However, I really appreciate the reviews, and thank Shefali Chandra, Hilary Jones, Shoshana Keller, and Emma Teng for their perceptive insights and for opening up this discussion.

On a personal note, my academic background is multidisciplinary. I am not a “historian” with a degree in history, but a political scientist who specialized in industrial relations. My interests moved on to feminist history and I continue to be active in the women’s movement. Using these experiences, I have written on several issues ranging from working-class agitation to ethno-nationalism, feminism, peasant rebellion, and the rise of capitalism in Sri Lanka. In this book, I combine many of these themes, and as Shefali Chandra noted, I deal with “race, caste, class, sexuality, and nationalism”—a wide sweep, using examples from several countries.

I should also make it clear that my book is not a history of Euro-Asians, but a political study of the roots of colonial dissenting movements, including feminism, and the role of Euro-Asians as pioneers of struggles for democratic rights and against semifeudalism in South Asia. The word “Euro-Asian” is coined to include persons of mixed European and Asian origin in the maternal or paternal line. Emma Teng calls this “an important contribution” and states that the “highly fraught” issue of nomenclature “has been of great symbolic importance for those struggling for recognition,”—especially, if I may add, since those of mixed origin have historically been referred to by derogatory names. In Sri Lanka, the Euro-Asian “public intellectuals,” who had been educated in English, were inspired by the French Revolution and the European “Enlightenment.”…

Read or purchase the article here.

Tags: ,