MIGRATION AND POLITICAL CULTURE
By Professor Wang Gungwu
Political culture is a difficult concept for social scientists. It is, however, helpful for historians to use it to understand the different responses of migrant peoples towards foreign governments. How much influence did their own political cultures have on the way they organized themselves? Studying the record of earlier patterns of their responses may also help us examine the way recent immigrants organize themselves to deal with their host countries.
I shall use examples from various Asian experiences but will draw mostly from the Chinese idea of sojourning. What kind of political culture did sojourning evolve from, how that came to be modified by encounters with other cultures, and what political cultures today might deter or encourage new forms of sojourning, will be some of the questions I shall deal with.
About the Speaker
Professor Wang Gungwu is currently the Director of the East Asian Institute and Faculty Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, NUS. He holds a doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and was formerly Dean of Arts and Professor of History at University Malaya. He has a distinguished record of academic leadership, and amongst other appointments, was the Director of the Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University, and from 1986 to 1995, was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong.
He is a prolific author of scholarly books and articles; some of his more recent books include Don’t Leave Home: Migration and the Chinese (2001); Only Connect! Sino- Malay Encounters (2001); To Act is to Know: Chinese Dilemmas (2002); Bind Us in Time: Nation and Civilisation in Asia (2002).