2022 Chinese Australian History Online Seminar Session 5 - For Home and Abroad: A Century of Chinese-Australian Diaspora Educational Philanthropy in Zhongshan

This talk concerns pre-tertiary schools financed by the diaspora originating from Zhongshan county in Guangdong Province. Through a longitudinal analysis of over 30 modern school buildings between 1911 and 2021, it chronicles homeland educational philanthropy over the past century. It establishes that the development of diaspora-initiated educational philanthropy in their ancestral home reflects social and political changes in China and in the residential orientation of the Zhongshan diaspora in Australia. In the transforming landscape of educational philanthropy, the transition from sojourner to settler and homecoming descendant over the past century has resulted in three discrete and successive outcomes: first, creating a new future; second, improving educational prospects; and finally, leaving behind a legacy.

Date:  Wednesday, 7 December 2022

Time: 4:00pm - 5:00pm  (Sydney time)

Christopher Cheng knows firsthand the double pains of being disconnected from his Chinese roots and, at christopher chengthe same time, not firmly grounded in his parents’ immigrant country of Australia. For not quite a decade since 2008, he has been privileged to further his education in Guangzhou and Hong Kong after completing the first part of his architectural degree in Brisbane. In 2017, he joined the China–Australian Heritage Corridor team as a doctoral student and has been researching and publishing his field observations in academic and popular outlets, so that other “children in the diaspora” can also benefit.