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Chineseness at the crossroads: Curricula and pedagogical considerations for the educational context

Meerwald, A.M.L. (2004) Chineseness at the crossroads: Curricula and pedagogical considerations for the educational context. In: Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Forum 2004, 7 August 2004, Edith Cowan University, Mount Lawley Campus



Chineseness at the crossroads examines how diasporic Chinese women negotiate Chineseness in Australia. I deploy Homi Bhabha's theory of liminality, the concept of being neither here nor there, to question essentialist notions of Chineseness in the women's ambiguous experiences. It disrupts the binarisms that divide the old from the new, and recognises instead the past and present in new but familiar versions of Chineseness.

I argue that essentialist Chinese norms are communicated through cultural semantics or fictions of Chineseness. I assert that liminality disrupts normalised Chineseness to expose the power structures that inform the cultural semantics. Awareness of these interdependent processes politicises the women.

In mirroring my theoretical framework, I use an auto-ethnographic technique to collapse the divide between the researcher and the researched, creating a liminal space between them. This subverts the norms of the researcher, as the archaeologist of knowledge, and the researched as passive artefacts. This methodological frame is a prism to examine the intersections of gender, sexuality, family, relationships, language, education, class, age, and religion with Chineseness in the lives of the 39 women interviewed.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
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