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Marc Sebastian Rerceretnam Ph.D.
Intermarriage, religious conversions and new Peranakans within multi-ethnic communities in colonial Singapore: The development of early multi-ethnic Roman Catholic communities, c. 1830s to 1860s.
It is often thought that Singapore’s major ethnic communities lived inherently separate lives and did not interact in any meaningful way during British colonial rule, thanks to their practice of divide and rule. Besides various Peranakan communities that predated British colonialism, there is little evidence in current scholarly research to support the existence of consistent interaction, friendship and intermarriage during the decades that followed 1819. Join Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow Marc Rerceretnam as he not only examines new evidence about multiracial Roman Catholic communities, dating to the early 1830s, that show intermarriages were extremely commonplace, but also uncovers the creation of a native Peranakan bloodline, specific to Singapore, going back to 1833.
Ms Emma Harper
‘Exiles and prisoners on a cramped little island’? Exploring accounts of the lives of colonial administrators and their families in Singapore c. 1870 - 1920
European residents and visitors to colonial Singapore produced a wide variety of material commenting on the lifestyles of the small group of administrators who governed the Straits Settlements. Accounts range from official records and personal testimonies stressing the civilising influence of the British and the vibrancy of the social world of the colonial elites, to visitors' observations and satirical works presenting a picture of listless men and women living frivolously, yearning for the day they could return “home”. In her talk, Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow Emma Harper will frame these accounts with reference to theories of careering across imperial space, the construction of individual and community identities, and broader ideologies of colonialism to better position administrators and their families within late 19th/early 20th century Singapore society, and enhance our understanding of the British imperial system.
About the Speakers:
Marc Sebastian Rerceretnam has a Ph.D. in Economic History and is an author, a historian and freelance academic. He was born and bred in Singapore and now lives in Sydney. He specialises in the colonial history of Singapore as well as the origins of Christianity in the Malay Archipelago. He has also written extensively on the history of Australian sport and the development of multicultural communities in Australia.
Emma Harper graduated from the University of Oxford with a BA (Hons) in History and a Masters in Archaeology. She most recently worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum of Anthropology and World Archaeology, where she dealt with a variety of objects, many of which were collected from within the networks of the British Empire. Her research interests broadly include the construction of identity in the past (particularly how it manifests in the material record), the development of museum collections, and the history of childhood.