Digitizing “Chinese Englishmen”: Empire, Whiteness, and the Digital Nineteenth-Century Archive

Sunday, January 4, 2015: 9:20 AM
Beekman Parlor (New York Hilton)
Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton College of New Jersey
This talk presents Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen,’  a digital project that documents the creation of a group of “Asian Victorians” through the nineteenth century British Empire in Southeast Asia. While nineteenth century digital scholarship has proliferated in the past ten years, no projects that focus on the influence of Empire on Victorian culture yet exist. Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen’ addresses this gap through digitizing and annotating The Straits Chinese Magazine, a magazine of short stories and essays where hybrid ‘Chinese Englishmen’ demonstrated the tensions of Victorian values and assertions of diasporic Chinese identity. In this talk, Koh will give an overview of readings of race and Victorian ideals in this project, and show how Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen’ attempts to deal with the problems of “imperial meaning-making” within the digital archive.