“Chinese Communities in Southeast Asia: History, Culture, and Literature” Training Program

Call For Applications

We are pleased to announce a call for applications for a December 2024 Training Program on "Chinese Communities in Southeast Asia: History, Culture, and Literature" held at the National University of Singapore


“Chinese Communities in Southeast Asia: History, Culture, and Literature”
Singapore, December 9–17, 2024


The Chinese diaspora is one of the most prominent globally, and Southeast Asia has been one of the most significant recipients of this migration. This unique integration has led to a fascinating intermingling of cultures, traditions, and histories that have shaped the distinctive identities of Southeast Asian nations. These communities, over centuries, have grown to become an inseparable part of the fabric that forms Southeast Asia’s vibrant, diverse, and complex identity.

This workshop examines this significant chapter of history and socio-cultural evolution. It will unfold across two key themes. Firstly, we will navigate the pages of history to understand the migration patterns of Chinese communities to Southeast Asia. We will delve into the socio-economic and political factors that fuelled this diaspora and how it unfolded across different periods and locales.

Our second focus will be the cultural amalgamation resulting from this migration. We will explore the vibrant cultural exchange between Chinese communities and the indigenous populations of Southeast Asia, between the different Chinese communities within and across the region, and how this interaction has influenced art, religions, customs, and societal norms in the region. We aim to examine how the Chinese diaspora has contributed to the rich tapestry of Southeast Asian cultures, making them some of the most diverse and inclusive globally.

The workshop is targeted at scholars and students interested in understanding the intricate interplay of history, culture, and literature in the context of migration and community integration. It will provide a unique platform for enriching dialogue and fostering a deeper understanding of the lasting and evolving influence of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia.

Through this workshop, we aim to not only illuminate the past but also shine a light on the future—understanding how the symbiosis of Chinese communities and Southeast Asian societies can shape the future in an increasingly globalized world.


  • To provide an in-depth understanding of the history and migration patterns of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, revealing the socio-economic and political factors that drove their migration
  • To examine the cultural exchanges that have occurred between Chinese communities and the indigenous populations of Southeast Asia, including their influences on art, religions, customs, and societal norms
  • To foster greater appreciation and understanding of the richness and diversity of Southeast Asian societies, with a focus on the role of Chinese communities in this cultural mosaic
  • To facilitate an environment of shared learning, where participants can engage with and learn from established colleagues and peers


  • Historical Migration: Tracing the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia—patterns, periods, and push-pull factors
  • Cultural Intermingling: Exploring the interactions of Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures, and between different Chinese societies within the region, focusing on religions, art, customs, and festivals
  • Identity Formation: Understanding how Chinese communities maintain their cultural heritage while integrating into the wider Southeast Asian societies
  • Socio-Political Landscape: Investigating the socio-political status of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia, including issues of representation, discrimination, and assimilation
  • Chinese Diaspora and Globalization: Discussing the role of the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia within the context of an increasingly globalized world
  • Inter-community Relations: Understanding the dynamics between Chinese communities and other ethnic and cultural groups in Southeast Asia
  • Future Prospects: Envisioning the future role of Chinese communities in Southeast Asia— opportunities, challenges, and possible scenarios

* The language of instruction is English.


Professor Sunil AMRITH (Yale University)
Professor Kenneth DEAN (National University of Singapore)
Associate Professor Rachel LEOW (Cambridge University)
Professor Melissa MACAULEY (Northwestern University)
Professor Hue-Tam Ho TAI (Harvard University)
Professor David WANG Der-wei (Harvard University)
Professor Danny WONG Tze Ken (University of Malaya)


Dr CHAN Cheow Thia (Department of Chinese Studies, NUS)
Dr Jack Meng-Tat CHIA (Department of History, NUS)
Dr KUNG Chien Wen (Department of History, NUS)
Dr SENG Guo-Quan (Department of History, NUS)
Associate Professor XU Lanjun (Department of Chinese Studies, NUS)
Dr YANG Yan (Department of Chinese Studies, NUS)


This training workshop is co-organized by the Harvard-Yenching Institute (HYI) and the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) and the Wan Boo Sow Research Center for Chinese Culture (NUS). It will welcome a cohort of up to 20 participants, comprised of Ph.D. students and pre-tenure faculty members [who completed their PhD within the past five years].

Eligible candidates should be either currently pursuing a Ph.D. at an accredited institution in Asia or be recent Ph.D. graduates currently based in Asia. Furthermore, their academic specialization should lie within the disciplines of humanities or social sciences. A very small number of non-Asia-based PhD students and junior faculty members may be recruited to participate, but they will not be eligible for the Harvard-Yenching Institute fellowship opportunity.

Harvard-Yenching Institute Fellowship Opportunity

Upon the conclusion of the workshop, the Harvard-Yenching Institute will offer opportunities for a very small number of selected trainees to visit the Harvard-Yenching Institute for a one-year research stay under the HYI fellowship in the 2025-26 academic year.


Dates: Dec 9–17, 2024
Time: 9 am – 5 pm
Venue: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Block AS7, National University of Singapore
Language: English

Dec 9 (8:50 am – 9 am): Brief Welcoming Address
Dec 9–13, Dec 16 (9 am – 12 pm): Lecture and Discussion
Dec 9–13, Dec 16 (2 pm – 5 pm): Participants’ Presentations and Discussion
Dec 14: Local Field Trip
Dec 17: Post Event Review and AOB*

*All participants will be awarded a certificate of completion at the end of the training program.


Prospective applicants should submit their applications to chsbox9@nus.edu.sg no later than April 30, 2024.

Your application packet should comprise the following:

  • The completed application form (Download application form here)
  • A one-page CV
  • One recommendation letter from your academic advisor (for PhD candidates and post-doc researchers)
    [Letters can be sent directly to the above email, separate from the application package]

* Please note that application documents will not be returned.

Selection Procedure: A selection committee will review all submissions. The final selection is scheduled to be announced by June 15, 2024. Only selected applicants will be informed by email.

Application Fee: Free
Participation Fee: Free

International participants will need to manage their own visa application and round-trip airfare.
NUS FASS will supply any required documents to support visa applications. Additionally, the organizers will bear the expenses related to accommodation, lunch and transportation for all participants during the duration of the program.

For inquiries, please contact our workshop convener:
Dr. YANG Yan
Deputy Director, Wan Boo Sow Research Center
Email: chsbox9@nus.edu.sg