Eurasian: Mixed Marriages in Hong Kong, China and the US during the Treaty Port EraVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Asia Society History Series
Drinks reception 6:30pm
In the second half of the nineteenth century, trade, imperialism, global labor migration and overseas study brought China and the United States in closer contact than ever before. Out of the cross-cultural encounters engendered by these intersecting transnational movements emerged mixed families, giving lie to the hackneyed adage that “East is East and West is West, and ne’er the twain shall meet.” Some of these families formed in the United States, some in China and countless others in the British colony of Hong Kong, a vital entrepôt for the China trade and a key hub in the migrant corridor between China and the United States. Yet, their stories remain largely unknown. How did interracial families negotiate their identities within these diverse societies, when mixed-race marriage was taboo and “Eurasian” often a derisive term? How have contemporary changes in racial ideology allowed the descendants of some of these families to reclaim their dual heritage with pride? Emma J. Teng, Professor of Asian Civilizations at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, traces the stories of mixed and transnational families from this earlier era of globalization.
Emma J. Teng is the T.T. and Wei Fong Chao Professor of Asian Civilizations and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She holds a dual appointment on the Global Studies and Languages, and History faculties. Prof. Teng currently serves on the faculty advisory committee of the Harvard-Yenching Institute and the Board of Directors for Massachusetts Humanities. She was previously an American Fellow of the American Association for University Women and a J. Paul Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in history of art and humanities. Prof. Teng received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as PhD in East Asian languages and civilizations from Harvard University, where she specialized in Chinese and Asian American studies.