Museum Representations of Chinese Diasporas is the first book to analyse the recent upsurge in museums on Chinese diasporas in China. Examining heritage-making beyond the nation state, the book provides a much-needed, critical examination of China’s engagement with its diasporic communities.
Drawing on fieldwork in more than ten museums, as well as interviews with museum practitioners and archival study, Wang offers a timely analysis of the complex ways in which Chinese diasporas are represented in the museum space of China, the ancestral homeland. Arguing that diasporic heritage is highly ambivalent and introducing a diasporic perspective to the study of cultural heritage, this book opens up a new avenue of inquiry into the study and management of cultural heritage in China and beyond. Most importantly, perhaps, Wang sheds new light on the dynamic between China and Chinese diasporas through the lens of the museum.
Museum Representations of Chinese Diasporas takes a transnational perspective that will draw attention to the under-researched connections between heritage, mobility and meaning in a global context. As such, this cross-disciplinary work will be of interest to scholars and students working in the museum and heritage studies fields, as well as those studying Asia, China, migration and diaspora, anthropology, history and culture.
Table of Contents
Part I: The Symbolic Museum
Chapter 1 The birth of the Overseas Chinese History Museum of China
Chapter 2 The representation of the Chinese diasporas as a ‘national self/other’
Part II: The Branding Museum
Chapter 3 Negotiating ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ authentication in diasporic heritage-making at a qiaoxiang
Chapter 4 Repatriation of Chinese cultural relics as a site for place-making and identity construction
Part III: The Memory Museum
Chapter 5 The stamp of identities: negotiating diasporic Chinese subjectivity in philatelic space
Chapter 6 How does a house remember? Materialising memories of return migration at a huaqiao farm
Part IV: The Im/possible Museum
Chapter 7 The im/possibility of museumifying the Chinese diasporas in South China
Cangbai Wang is Reader in Chinese Studies, School of Humanities at the University of Westminster in the UK.