Ours is the only centre in the southern hemisphere for research on people of Chinese descent in Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific. The Centre seeks to stimulate and encourage scholarship that reflects the diversity of and intercourse among areas, cultures and political economies in the region, and contributes critically to the field of knowledge.
At the top of our research agenda is a scholarship which looks beyond the stereotyped masks of 'Chinese' and 'Chineseness', and focuses instead on exploring the fluid and multifaceted nature of Chinese diaspora experience in Southeast Asia, its various interfaces with indigenous people and states, its multiple positions in economies, societies and politics, and its global positioning.
As a center based in Australia, we are inevitably interested in the studies of the Australian Chinese Community, particularly in the location of their history within the larger narrative of the Chinese southern diaspora. The conventional narrative on Chinese diaspora has been filtered, consciously or unconsciously, so as to conform to a common story that tells the tale of a unique 'Chineseness' manifesting at different times and places. A regional and geographical approach is one way to liberate the study of overseas Chinese from its nationalist straight jacket and to challenge the invented tradition of a unified essence of Chinese.
We see the CSCSD as a natural and logical venue to venture into this scholarship. The Centre hopes to add its Australian voice to the growing critique of this dominant scholarship,and to contribute to this important new current in studies of Chinese people outside China.