RDG Conference Report of Tina S. Clemente

Write up about the Conference

The 8th International Conference of ISSCO (International Society for the Studies of Chinese Overseas) was held at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel, Kuala Lumpur on 17-18 August 2013 and convened by the Institute of Chinese Studies, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conference featured a wide range of subjects dealing with the overseas Chinese, with participation from established and upcoming scholars from Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, North America, Europe and Africa. The diversity of the papers was evident in the analytical approaches of disciplinal and multi-disciplinal orientation; the chronological scope; variety of subjects and language of presentation (i.e. Mandarin, Malay or English). The conference was also very special as it was a time of bridging the legacies of eminent scholars Wang Gungwu and Leo Suryadinata with the future prospects of scholarship on overseas Chinese.

As a bonus for the participants, a Melaka tour was organized on 19August.

Feedback on paper presented

The feedback on the paper was extremely useful and encouraging. Feedback ranged from the general comments of appreciation and interest to the more particular. Here I will share about the latter. One input for my consideration was on how the Spanish colonial government institutionalized or formalized the retirement of containment policies against the Chinese. Were expulsions formally outlawed through legislation, for instance? Another comment was on the motivation behind the use of 19th century British and American sources. Was I intending to bring in the outsiders’ point of view? One scholar commented that he appreciates my research since I presented primary sources he did know of and found the consideration of different analytical approaches interesting. He also mentioned that the new perspective that one brings in to shed new light on existing is extremely important.

Future directions of research presented

There are several possibilities that came out of the conference that would benefit my research. First, the research will incorporate the insights drawn from the feedback. Second, I am finalizing the research output into a manuscript for consideration in the Journal of Chinese Overseas or the Philippine Association of Chinese Studies (PACS) journal (special issue).

Potential foreign collaborators

The conference allowed me to improve my network especially with scholars who are interested in the overseas Chinese in the Philippines and with whom collaboration is a strong possibility. It was a great opportunity to encounter a scholar who uses statistical approaches to analyze social phenomena. I find that rare in my particular interest within the subject of overseas Chinese in the Philippines. Second, I was able to meet a researcher with whom I can collaborate on documentary translations and one whose archival work is extremely useful for my study. There were others whose expertise also relate to my other research interests on pre-colonial institutions in the Philippines and Southeast Asia. These potential relationships are not only beneficial in terms of actual collaboration but also in terms of valuable research feedback from an expert group of peers.

As mentioned in 7.4, one possible direction of the research is to be part of a special issue of the PACS journal. This possibility is in context of collaboration. This will bring together scholars who presented in ISSCO8.

Other important contacts and insights

The conference was very enriching for a beginning academic such as myself. Aside from the valuable feedback I was able to gather and the possibilities for collaboration, I was also able to learn more about the overseas Chinese as a field of study in various geographical and social contexts. The diverse research interests represented in the conference allowed me to draw significant insights regarding subjects of inquiry, conceptual methodology, data sets, etcetera. I was also able to seek practical advice from eminent scholars of the field.

Short write-up of one’s participation (to be used to feature/publicize the grantee’s participation in the conference)

Dr. Tina S. Clemente, an Assistant Professor from the Asian Center, University of the Philippines-Diliman, presented her research, entitled, “Crowding Out the Competition: Chinese Commercial Success in Spanish Philippines” in the 8th International Conference of ISSCO (International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas), held at the Palace of the Golden Horses Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 17-18 August 2013.