Creolizing Sinophone Connections in Southeast Asia: Literatures and Histories (Sino-creole Translations in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore​)

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Creolizing Sinophone Connections in Southeast Asia: Literatures and Histories (Sino-creole Translations in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore​)
Stream: Translation
Presentation Type: Panel Presentation
Panelists:
Nicholas Y. H. Wong, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong (organizer, chair, presenter)
Anna Belogurova, Free University of Berlin, Germany (discussant)
Ravando Lie, University of Melbourne, Australia (presenter)
Jason Sze-Chieh Ng, Independent Scholar, Malaysia (presenter)
Chanon (Kenji) Praepipatmongkol, University of Michigan, United States (presenter)
Wasana Wongsurawat, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (discussant)

Abstract:

This panel brings together historians and literary scholars who work on Chinese relations and contributions in what became Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore across the long twentieth century. Our aim is to get history and literature scholars to talk more precisely about keywords used in their study of minority diasporic Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, e.g., creolization, connections, and circulations. In doing so, we aim to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on comparable terms of analysis and use of texts, sources, and media.

In this panel, we challenge certain aspects of linguistic belonging in comparative studies of culture. Complicating the meaning of "Sinophone" literatures, Sino-creole literatures and writers were at the forefront of inventing modern national literatures in several SE Asian countries. Sino-Thais, Sino-Javanese, and Sino-Filipinos were often the first authors to write in the national vernacular for their "nationalist" readers. Yet, some of these "assimilated" writers self-identified as ethnic Chinese.

Whether diaspora has an end date--a question posed in Sinophone studies--can be observed in the ebb and flow of "diaspora moments." We ask further: do Sino-creole literatures have end dates: are they written for specific audiences and have non-portable linguistic characteristics? If "low" hybrid Sino-creole literatures exist prior to the rise of "high" standardizing "national" literatures, can we discuss later writings with creole aspirations within this genealogy? What separates local and transnational processes of creolization and bilingualism? Our essays address these questions via histories of literary translation, journalism, and calligraphic art in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.