Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > Ambivalent Orientalism: Victor Purcell’s Representations of Chinese Subjects in Inter-War British Malaya, Hong Kong, and China
Available after 15 August, 2019

This thesis explores how Victor Purcell, the Protector of Chinese in inter-war British Malaya, portrayed Chinese subjects. The knowledge production happened across British Malaya, Hong Kong, and Republican China. This thesis is divided into three sections. The first section explains the presupposition of Purcell to consider himself different from typical Orientalists. I argue that the setup of Colonial Administrative Service and the encounter between Purcell and the Chinese were essential in shaping his hierarchical mode of thinking, outlier mentality, and a sense of agency. The second section analyzes what being a British colonial official meant for Purcell. I argue that Purcell actively created meanings and lessons from book learning and his encounter with the Chinese, which he then used to educate English reader. The last section discusses how far Purcell could transcend the structures of Orientalism and colonialism.