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Xueyi Li

Xueyi Li

PhD Student @ University of Warwick


I am currently a first year PhD student in the English and Comparative Literature Department at University of Warwick. I studied for my BA in English at Suzhou University and an MA in Translation and Interpreting at Beijing Foreign Studies University. My study will investigate how literary depictions of the Chinese presence in the Caribbean have developed since the 1980s. In particular, it will focus on works published after the turn of the 21st century by such writers as Kerry Young (Pao, 2011), Margaret Lim (The Festival of Wild Orchid, 2012), and Jan Lowe Shinebourne (Chinese Women, 2010). This study intends to fill an important gap in the research into Chinese Caribbean literature, focusing on images of Chinese individuals and culture, especially in works after 2010, and comparing them to prior works to better understand Chinese diasporic identity in the Caribbean.

Geographical location : Warwick, UK

Research Area and Interest : Chinese Caribbean literature

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The Chinese Presence in Contemporary Caribbean Literature
Summary: Chinese literature in Europe, North America, Australia, and Southeast Asia has long been an expanding and diversified field. On the contrary, little attention has been paid to Chinese Caribbean literature until the last decade when a few scholars began to study Chinese Caribbean writers and their works. Still, both the amount and diversity of works in this field cannot be compared to that of Chinese American or Canadian literature. Although Anglophone Chinese Caribbean literature can be traced back to Easton Lee, it truly became a literary phenomenon after the 1980s. Since then, a group of Chinese Caribbean writers became an active voice in the literature. For quite a long time from the 1980s to the mid-1990s, Chinese characters only appeared as secondary figures, portrayed as outsiders, exploiters, and parasites who undermined the independence, progress, and interests of local people. Since 2010, Sino-Caribbean ties have been deepened. Corresponding to that, since the end of 2010, one of the biggest features in Chinese Caribbean literature is that it breaks through the shackles of the shopkeeper image and begins to write Chinese characters with other identities, especially with attention to Chinese Caribbean women. This new era emphasizes the richness and complexity of the Chinese experience in the Caribbean. This paper draws attention to the shifting Chinese images in Pao by Kerry Young, and compare them to prior works to broaden the diasporic identity of the Chinese in the Caribbean.

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