Golden shadows on a white land : an exploration of the lives of white women who partnered Chinese men and their children in southern Australia, 1855-1915 / Kate Bagnall Bagnall, Kate

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Bagnall, Kate
Chinese - Australia - History.; Australia - Race relations - History.; Interracial marriage - Australia - History.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) This thesis explores the experiences of white women who partnered Chinese men and their children in southern Australia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It has been based on a wide range of sources, including newspapers, government reports, birth and marriage records, personal reminiscences and family lore, and highlights the contradictory images and representations of Chinese-European couples and their families which exist in those sources. It reveals that in spite of the hostility towards intimate interracial relationships so strongly expressed in discourse, hundreds of white women and Chinese men in colonial Australia came together for reasons of love, companionship, security, sexual fulfilment and the formation of family. They lived, worked and loved in and between two very different communities and cultures, each of which could be disapproving and critical of their crossing of racial boundaries. As part of this exploration of lives across and between cultures, the thesis further considers those families who spent time in Hong Kong and China. The lives of these couples and their Anglo-Chinese families are largely missing from the history of the Chinese in Australia and of migration and colonial race relations more generally. They are historical subjects whose experiences have remained in the shadows and on the margins. This thesis aims to throw light on those shadows, contributing to our knowledge not only of interactions between individual Chinese men and white women, but also of the way mixed race couples and their children interacted with their extended families and communities in Australia and China. This thesis demonstrates that their lives were complex negotiations across race, culture and geography which challenged strict racial and social categorisation.
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