This talk will explore current domestic and international factors, as well as historical trends, that have led to mainland Chinese merchants dominating the retail trade in the South Pacific. It will draw on fieldwork and archival research conducted by Dr Smith in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, New Caledonia, the Solomon Islands and the Chinese provinces of Fujian, Guangdong and Yunnan over the past six years. Some scholars worry about China's political and economic footprint in the region without considering the relationship of these migrants to different levels of the Chinese state and to host nation actors. In exploring the motivations and lives of these frontier capitalists this talk will add nuance to often emotive debates about China's presence in 'our' region.
About the Speaker
Graeme Smith is a research fellow in the State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Program at the Australian National University. His research has explored the demand for organic produce in Chinese urban centres, the political economy of agricultural service delivery, the role of rural cadres in China's development, and the persistence of informal land markets in rural China. He also studies Chinese investment in the Asia-Pacific region, with ongoing projects in Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Tonga, Samoa and Myanmar. His journal articles appear in the China Journal, Pacific Affairs, The Journal of Contemporary China and the Journal of Peasant Studies. Dr Smith also holds a PhD in environmental chemistry, has written several guidebooks to China, and is the 2011 winner of the Gordon White Prize for the best article published in China Quarterly, the leading journal in China Studies.
After the Seminar
To allow for informal discussion, the seminar will be followed by a dinner with the guest speaker at 6:15pm. The location of the restaurant will be announced at the seminar.
All are welcome, though those who attend will need to pay for their own food and drinks. As reservations must be made at the restaurant, please RSVP by noon of the day before the seminar to firstname.lastname@example.org
The ANU China Seminar Series is supported by the China Institute, the Research School of Asia and the Pacific, and the Australian Centre on China in the World at The Australian National University.
Dates & timesThursday, 12 March 2015 4.00pm - 5.30pm
Seminar Rooms, China in the World Building (188), Fellows Lane, ANU