Tuesday 7 February 2017
4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room
Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich & MIASU Visiting Researcher
Same but Different: Sinophobia in Vladivostok, San Francisco and Singapore
Previous scholarship on the “yellow peril” pays little attention on the varying combinations of fear and prejudice that defined different contexts in which it became manifest. Hitherto neglected dynamics between xenophobic discourses and actual dealings in the public sphere can be explored best in a comparative analysis of cities with a high concentration of Asian immigrants. Though the “yellow peril” was established as a concept and a occidental fear that was not bound to urban ethnic ghettos, Chinatowns soon were regarded as breeding places of swirling tales of opium smoking, gambling and interracial romance all of which had become synonymous with the presence of the Chinese and other Asian immigrants.
By investigating selected occurrences, such as romantic love across the ethnic divide, murder cases, or the fear of economic domination, my project will, firstly, test the “yellow peril” phobia on the micro level, its influence on discourses of fear, and the impact of such discourses on official policies and other dealings on the ground as well. A second objective of this study will be to analyze the regional variations and fluctuations of this concept. Thirdly, it will seek to identify the points and trajectories of decline in the perception of Chinese as a “yellow peril.” Fourthly, it will explore how these narratives were received in the Chinese communities themselves. Fifthly and finally, it will explore how people, ideas, laws and institutions moved within the wide universe of the Chinese diaspora to create the “yellow peril” as a global historical phenomenon.