‘I was a good-time Charlie’. Grace Edwards’ PhD Completion Seminar

You are welcome to attend Grace’s PhD completion seminar on Friday 5 February 2016, 10:00-11:00 am.

Room 509, 5th Floor, 757 Swanston Street (School of Historical & Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne).

‘I was a good-time Charlie’: Social Dance and Community Life in Sydney and Melbourne’s Chinese Communities, 1850s-1970s

A vibrant calendar of dances, balls and rituals has long been at the heart of Chinese-Australian community life. It was at such events that community members most powerfully experimented with and articulated what it meant to be Chinese-Australian across dimensions of race, gender and class. This thesis traces the history of Chinese community life through various social dances and events in Sydney and Melbourne over a period spanning roughly 120 years. Examining this relatively little-known aspect of history, it seeks to offer a sense of the vitality of Chinese-Australian community life during these decades and to use dance as a means to generate new insights into the interplay of the material and the emotional in the lives of Chinese Australians.

Book Launch: Chinese Australians: Politics, Engagement and Resistance

You are warmly invited to the launch of Chinese Australians: Politics, Engagement and Resistance, edited by Sophie Couchman and Kate Bagnall.

Bringing together contributions from eleven key scholars in Chinese Australian history, the book explores how Chinese Australians have influenced the communities in which they lived on a civic or individual level. Focusing on the motivations and aspirations of their subjects, the authors draw on biography, world history, case law, newspapers and immigration case files to investigate the political worlds of Chinese Australians in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The book will be launched by Ms Nancy Gordon, Australian Consul-General in Chengdu, China.

When   Friday, 24 April at 11am

Where  Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne (behind Her Majesty’s Theatre)

RSVP     Wednesday, 22 April 2015 to curator@chinesemuseum.com.au or 03 9662 2888.

Books will be available for purchase on the day at a discounted rate. For more information about the book, see http://www.brill.com/products/book/chinese-australians.

The book includes a chapter by Marilyn Lake, ‘The Chinese Empire Encounters the British Empire and Its ‘Colonial Dependencies’: Melbourne, 1887’.


Dancing Dragons

Graduate student Grace Edwards has an article in the recent issue of Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies (Vol. 6, 2013). In ‘Dancing Dragons: Reflections on Creating a Cultural History of the Chinese Australian Community‘, Grace reflects on her research into the history of Chinese involvement in dance-related cultural activities in Australia in activities such as Cantonese opera, dragon dancing, the Young Chinese League’s debutante balls and the Sydney Chinese community’s Dragon Balls.

The Dim Sim

One of our graduates Dr Barbara Nichol was a recent guest on ABC Radio National’s Historyonics, discussing the origins of the dim sim and its role in the history of Chinese immigration to Australia. Barbara’s PhD thesis—’The breath of the wok: Melbourne’s early Chinese restaurants—community, culture and entrepreneurialism in the city, late nineteenth century to the 1950s’—was completed in 2012, and she is currently revising it for publication.

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 7.03.28 PM

For other snippets of Barbara’s work, see ‘Tracing Victoria’s passion for Chinese cuisine‘ (Age, 7 June 2006); ‘Sweet and sour history: Melbourne’s early Chinese restaurants’ in Memento 34 (2008); a short piece Barbara contributed to a website on U.S marines in wartime Melbourne (‘U.S. Marines and Melbourne’s Chinese restaurants: New perspectives on the home front, 1939-1945’), and her entry on Melbourne’s Chinese restaurants, cafes and cookshops (1830s-1950s) on the CHIA website hosted by the Melbourne Chinese Museum.