Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen’ is a project that involves both digitization and academic commentary on the Straits Chinese Magazine, a literary magazine published in colonial Singapore from 1897-1907 by a combination of Southeast Asian-born Anglophone Chinese subjects, European colonial writers and mixed-race Eurasian writers.

Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen’ documents how British colonial culture created a group of “Asian Victorians” in Southeast Asia through the establishment of a colonial intermediary class within the diasporic Chinese group known as the “Straits Chinese.” While the Straits Chinese had established roots in Southeast Asia from the seventeenth century, under British rule they became an important comprador class serving as mediators between the British and the rest of the Empire. Digitizing ‘Chinese Englishmen’ is an attempt to give voice and representation to formerly colonized subjects, and to attempt to work against the “imperial meaning-making” of the archive by implementing new types of reading and commenting technologies that disrupt the idea of dominant and subjugated knowledges.

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