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Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917–1945 (review)

Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917–1945 (review) Reviews Gregor Benton. Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917­1945. London: Routledge, 2007. xvi. 170 pp. Hardcover $180.00, isbn 978-0-415-41868-3. A popular trend in Chinese diasporic studies these days is to study modern Chinese transnationals who are mostly merchant capitalists. Benton's book, therefore, is somewhat of a novelty because it deals with different subjects: Chinese workers, students, and small traders. But more than just being about another group of people, the book also goes against the trend by utilizing an internationalist perspective to study Chinese diasporic subjects. In utilizing such a framework, the book avoids what its author regards as a paradox in transnational studies, where one "path" undermines "cultural essentialism and determinism" while another emphasizes primordial ties (p. 2). Instead, "internationalism" focuses on the shared humanity of people and envisages the world as an "unbounded worldwide society of collectives," hence, transcending the limits of the transnationalist paradigm (p. 2). Although past scholars have used an internationalist perspective to study the Chinese diaspora, their works often portray the Chinese as passive observers and beneficiaries of others' internationalism, thus perpetrating Chinese stereotypes of being "clannish, unassimilable, xenophobic, and deeply introverted" (p. 1). Benton's work differs from such earlier studies http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png China Review International University of Hawai'I Press

Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917–1945 (review)

China Review International , Volume 17 (3) – Jun 15, 2010

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University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © University of Hawai'i Press.
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Abstract

Reviews Gregor Benton. Chinese Migrants and Internationalism: Forgotten Histories, 1917­1945. London: Routledge, 2007. xvi. 170 pp. Hardcover $180.00, isbn 978-0-415-41868-3. A popular trend in Chinese diasporic studies these days is to study modern Chinese transnationals who are mostly merchant capitalists. Benton's book, therefore, is somewhat of a novelty because it deals with different subjects: Chinese workers, students, and small traders. But more than just being about another group of people, the book also goes against the trend by utilizing an internationalist perspective to study Chinese diasporic subjects. In utilizing such a framework, the book avoids what its author regards as a paradox in transnational studies, where one "path" undermines "cultural essentialism and determinism" while another emphasizes primordial ties (p. 2). Instead, "internationalism" focuses on the shared humanity of people and envisages the world as an "unbounded worldwide society of collectives," hence, transcending the limits of the transnationalist paradigm (p. 2). Although past scholars have used an internationalist perspective to study the Chinese diaspora, their works often portray the Chinese as passive observers and beneficiaries of others' internationalism, thus perpetrating Chinese stereotypes of being "clannish, unassimilable, xenophobic, and deeply introverted" (p. 1). Benton's work differs from such earlier studies

Journal

China Review InternationalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 15, 2010

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