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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Not a Chinaman's chance': Chinese labour in South Africa and the United States of America
Author:Harris, Karen L.
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic terms:South Africa
United States
Subjects:migrant workers
contract labour
Abstract:From the mid-19th century, Chinese labour formed an integral part of the mass migration of people in the international era of industrial capitalism. In particular, developing colonial economies throughout the world, which were specifically dependent on mining, plantation and later railway developments, precipitated these movements. Being stereotyped as hard-working, diligent and reliable, the Chinese labour force was as much welcomed, as it was objected to. The anti-Chinese campaigns that resonated across the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans reveal similarities in terms of anti-Sinicism and extreme Orientalism. While it has been argued that most of the work on indentured labour has examined the subject in terms of a 'single overseas location' and intimated that more comparative historical work is required, this article juxtaposes the situation in two key areas of the Western colonial world: the USA and South Africa. It compares and contrasts the place and position of these labourers, as well as the visual representation of the 'other'. This, it is argued, eventually culminated in some of the first overtly racist legislation introduced during the genesis of white hegemony on these two continents, and had ramifications that went beyond the dissolution of the respective exclusion acts. Ref., sum. in Afrikaans and English. [Journal abstract]