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Thursday, October 5, 2023 at 4:45pm
A. D. White House, Guerlac Room
29 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA
Veeraporn Nitiprapha, one of Thailand’s most famous contemporary authors, speaks about her novel Memories of the Memories of the Black Rose Cat (published in translation in 2022).
Memories tells an entirely new story of Chinese migration to and personhood in Southeast Asia as it chronicles the history of a Chinese-Thai family throughout much of the twentieth century.
Introduction by Prof. Thak Chaloemtiarana (Cornell University)
Two-time Southeast Asian Write Award winner Veeraporn Nitiprapha is one of Thailand’s most famous contemporary authors. Spearheading a current wave of Chinese-themed literature, Veeraporn revises understandings of region and identity in tandem. Her second novel Phuthasakarat Asdong was published in translation in 2022 as Memories of the Memories of the Black Rose Cat. Chronicling the history of a Chinese-Thai family, it tells an entirely different story of Chinese-Thai migration and personhood than previous literary and scholarly works. Using fantasy and centering female and feminized characters, Veeraporn tells this history as a critical, non-triumphalist one and highlights the lives of working and middle class migrants. China’s and Thailand’s histories are dynamically interwoven in this story. Surprisingly, China’s cultural history becomes intricately connected to Thailand’s. Veeraporn’s work provincializes China in certain ways but, more importantly, provides us with a rich idea of the mobility of trans-Asia histories of cultural circulation. In Thailand, she debunks dominant rags-to-riches myths of Chinese social and economic ascendancy. The author uniquely preserves minor histories of migration that are in danger of being erased by China’s hegemonic rise. Critiquing a military-led nation, Veeraporn’s work moreover imagines belonging anew.
Hosted by the Department of Asian Studies
With the generous co-sponsorship of