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Chinese-Australian fiction: a hybrid narrative of the Chinese Diaspora in Australia

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posted on 2023-05-26, 06:05 authored by Liu, XR
This thesis seeks to discover the diasporic themes and hybrid values in the crosscultural and transnational experiences of the Chinese diaspora as embodied in Chinese-Australia fiction. The thesis uses the concept of hybridity to balance the tension between Chinese and Anglo-centric perspectives. It offers insights of someone who is both an academic researcher and a diasporic novelist. Although it refers to Chinese-Australian works written in English or translated from Chinese, its main focus is on ChineseAustralian fiction in Chinese. Through my bilingual skills, it overcomes a major limitation in previous research in English in Australia-the absence of critiques of works in Chinese that remain untranslated. Also, it uses a multi cultural method to address the limitation of censorship or China-centric vision that characterises existing critiques in Chinese. This thesis is the first study in English to focus totally on Chinese-Australian fiction, and fills a gap of existing knowledge in Chinese critical circles as well. In my findings, Chinese-Australian fiction, especially in Chinese, not only makes an original contribution to Chinese diasporic literature but also to the Australian migrant literature. Through its multiculturar stance, it comprises a valued addition to the voices of Australian literature, presenting Australia's social conditions and customs in a hybrid narrative. Also, the works extend the scope of overseas Chinese diasporic stories. My three published novels have been regarded as a 'trilogy' in their representation of diasporic and cultural themes, representative of different periods of development in contemporary Chinese-Australian literature. One focus of the thesis is what my novels have done differently from other Chinese-Australian fiction. This thesis illustrates Western theories of exile, diasporic experience and the concept of hybridity through detailed analysis on Chinese-Australian fiction. ChineseAustralian fiction articulates the Chinese diasporic experience from the gold rush to modem times in Australia using metaphors for push-pull factors in migration. The outstanding works overcome the limitations of traditional Chinese fiction which is characterised by obsession with China. Moreover, Chinese-Australian fiction creates modem and historical images of Chinese. Active Chinese figures of gold diggers and their descendants replace the passive stereotypes of Australian English fiction. Moving beyond the identity anxiety of Who am 1, the characters go beyond cultural differences and form a hybrid culture with the cultural confidence of 1 like who 1 am, and 1 like what 1 do. ChineseAustralian fiction illuminates cross-cultural interaction during the 150 year-long Chinese diaspora in Australia.

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