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Contemporary China | Provincializing China: Race and Architecture

Monday, March 14, 2022 at 4:45pm to 6:15pm

Rockefeller Hall 122, 122 231 East Avenue

HYBRID event: CCCI welcomes Lawrence Chua, of Syracuse University, to speak on "Provincializing China: Race and Architecture in Colonial-era Penang."

This presentation examines the role of architecture in racialization in 19th and 20th-century Penang. It uses three case studies: the Khoo Kongsi (邱公司) (1850), a Hokkien clan temple; the Penang mansion of Cheong Fatt Tze (1898-1903), deemed “China’s first capitalist and last mandarin”; and the mansions built by wealthy towkay or comprador families on Northam Road in the early 20th century. These three sites allow scholars to tease out the diverse histories of the region that the term “Chinese” often disguises. Racialized identities began to develop in mid-19th-century Penang that sought to consolidate diverse migrant groups into racial categories that could be more easily controlled and manipulated by the colonial state. Architecture became a key instrument in the racialization of urban space and the built environment but it also expressed ambivalence towards official categories of race.

Lawrence Chua, is an Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, Syracuse University.  

The Contemporary China Initiative this spring is directed by Arnika Fuhrmann, Associate Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University and the author of Ghostly Desires: Queer Sexuality and Vernacular Buddhism in Contemporary Thai Cinema.

This semester's CCCI lecture series is connected to Asian 6623 being taught by Professor Fuhrmann called 'The City.'

CCCI spring 2022 is generously co-sponsored by the East Asia Program, the Department of History, Asian Studies, and the Migrations initiative.

Dial-In Information

Please register in advance:

Details will follow in an email.

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Event Type



Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, Asian Studies, East Asia Program, Asian & Asian American Center, China and Asia-Pacific Studies, Cornell China Center, College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, Architecture, Southeast Asia Program, Migrations

University Themes



Einaudi, asianstudiescal, aap, artscal, soccal






Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Amala Lane


Lawrence Chua

Speaker Affiliation

Associate Professor, School of Architecture, Syracuse University

Dept. Web Site

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