Chinese history books and other stories

  • Kenneth Chan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


My thesis is a creative writing doctorate which focuses on one Chinese family's adaptation to living in Australia in the mid-twentieth century. The thesis is in two parts. Part I is an examination of Chineseness and identity within the context of the short stories that make up Part I1 of the thesis. In Part I,I have looked at the place of the Chinese within the larger, dominant cultures of America and Australia. In particular, I have discussed the way in which the discourses of the dominant culture have framed Chineseness; and also what it might mean to describe authentic and essential qualities in Chineseness. The question I ask is whether the concept of Chineseness shifts according to time, location, history, and intercultural encounters. This leads me to try to "place" my family and myself. I provide some background on my family and on specific incidents that have served as springboards for the fiction. Part I also discusses some aspects of narrative theory in relation to the stories and considers the stories within the context of other Chinese- Australian fiction and performance. Ln Part 11,I have written a collection of nine short stories about the lives of a fictitious family called the Tangs. The stories can be described as a cycle that is unified and linked by characters who are protagonists in one story but appear in a minor or supporting role in other stories. Composing a linked cycle of stories has given me the opportunity to extend the short story form, especially by giving me scope to expand the lives of the characters beyond a single story. The lives of the characters can take on greater complexity since they confront challenges at different stages of their lives from different perspectives.
Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Canberra
SupervisorJen Webb (Supervisor) & Greg Battye (Supervisor)

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