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Talk: Overseas Chinese in 17th century Manila

Christianity, Conversion and Overseas Chinese in 17th century Manila

A Talk by Dr. Barbara Watson Andaya, UH Mānoa. 

March 1, 2017
12:00 – 1:30pm
Tokioka Room, Moore Hall 319


This presentation is an offshoot of Dr. Andaya’s research, which explores the nature of religious interaction in Southeast Asia between 1500 and 1900. Throughout most of this time a major goal of Christian missions in Asia was to reach China, and Chinese communities in Southeast Asia were valued primarily as a preparatory training ground. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century this was particularly true of Manila, where religious orders, notably the Dominicans, hoped to acquire the linguistic skills and cultural knowledge that would enable them to extend their missions to China. In this presentation, Dr. Andaya steps outside her comfort zone to think about the interaction between the first generation of Christian missionaries and the largely Hokkien-speaking Chinese in Spanish Manila between 1581 and 1663. Much has been written on the Chinese in Manila, but this presentation will focus on the deep involvement of non-Christian Chinese in the production of Christian books and religious artifacts, and on the sustained but unsuccessful efforts of the missionary orders to convert them. The presentation will provide visual examples of this involvement as well as explanations as to why Christianity failed to appeal to overseas Chinese.

Speaker Bio

Barbara Watson Andaya is professor and chair of Asian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Between 2003 and 2010 she was Director of the University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies and in 2005-06 she was President of the American Association of Asian Studies. In 2010 she was awarded the University of Hawai‘i Regents Medal for Excellence in Research. She has lived and taught in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the United States. Her specific area of expertise is the western Malay-Indonesia archipelago, on which she has published widely, but she maintains an active teaching and research interest across all Southeast Asia. She is the author of the book The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Early Modern Southeast Asia (2006). With Leonard Y. Andaya she has co-authored A History of Malaysia (third edition, forthcoming 2016); and A History of Early Modern Southeast Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Her present project is a history of religious interaction in Southeast Asia, 1511-1900.

This talk is hosted by CSEAS and co-sponsored by Center for Philippine Studies

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