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Historical and Archaeological Research on Qiaoxiang (Home Villages) of 19th Century Transpacific Migrants in the Kaiping Diaolou World Heritage Site, Guangdong, China, Stanford University

This collaborative project is a pioneering interdisciplinary study of 19th century qiaoxiang (home village) society and culture in the Pearl River Delta region, Guangdong, China. Emigration from southeastern China is one of the largest and most important population movements during the modern era. Migrants’ home villages developed distinctive cultural and social strategies to stay connected to migrants living abroad. The qiaoxiang were themselves transformed as migrants shared new cultural influences and sent remittances to support their famlies and cultural institutions back home. However, although historians, archaeologists, and architectural historians have extensively researched Chinese migrant communities in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, to date little scholarly attention has been given to the home villages themselves. This project emerges through a long-term research collaboration between Stanford University researchers, the Guangdong Province Bureau of Cultural Relics, and the Guangdong Qiaoxiang Cultural Research Center at Wuyi University. The focus of this collaboration is archaeological research, which will be augmented by archival, oral history, and architectural research.


Kaiping, China

Principal Investigator:

Barbara L. Voss

Current Research Interests: 
I am a historical archaeologist who studies the dynamics and outcomes of transnational cultural encounters: How did diverse groups of people, who previously had little knowledge of each other, navigate the challenges and opportunities of abrupt and sustained interactions caused by colonialism, conflict, and migration? I approach this question through fine-grained, site-specific investigations coupled with broad-scale comparative and collaborative research programs. My earlier work investigated Spanish colonization of the Americas, an area of research that I continue to be involved in.
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