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UMass Sesquicentennial

University of Massachusetts Amherst

History Department

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Richard T. Chu

Associate Professor

Office: Herter 633
Telephone: (413) 545-6762
Fax: (413) 545-6137

Degree: Ph.D., University of Southern California (2003).
Field(s) of interest: Philippine Colonial History, Pacific Empires, Modern Chinese History, Chinese Diaspora, Asian-Pacific America

Research Interests and Professional Activities:
Richard T. Chu received his A.B. from Ateneo de Manila University (1986), his M.A. from Stanford University (1994), and his Ph.D. from University of Southern California (2003). His research focuses on the history of the Chinese and Chinese mestizos in the Philippines and the different Chinese diasporic communities in the world, centering on issues of ethnicity, gender, and nationalism. He has published several articles, including “Rethinking the Chinese Mestizos of the Philippines” (in Shen and Edwards, ANU, 2002), “The ‘Chinaman’ Question: A Conundrum in U.S. Imperial Policy in the Pacific” (Kritika Kultura, 2006); “Filipino Americans in Boston/Massachusetts” (Institute of Asian American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Boston, 2007); and more recently, "Strong(er) Women and Effete Men: Negotiating Chinese-ness in Philippine Cinema at a Time of Transnationalism: Mano Po, 2, 3, 4 and Crying Ladies” (Positions 19.2, 2011) and "Reconstituting Histories of Filipino Families with Chinese Ancestry: Methodology, Challenges, and Relevance” (Kritikika Kultura 21/22, 2013).

His book The Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture 1860s-1930s (E.J. Brill, 2010) examines and analyzes the familial and business practices of Chinese merchant families as they negotiated the attempts of colonial governments to control them. An offshoot from the first, his second book is entitled Chinese Merchants of Binondo in the Nineteenth Century, published by the University of Santo Tomas Press (2010). His third book project is called "Building a Nation, Effacing a Race: The Making and Unmaking of Filipino and Chinese Identities in the Philippines," and for which he received a University Faculty Research Grant. This next project looks into the discourse of Chinese identities in print media, and the construction of the Chinese as an ethnic “Other.” He also received a grant from the Institute of Asian American Studies at UMass Boston to conduct and publish his research on the Filipino-Americans in Boston/Massachusetts.

Proficient in several languages, Chu was born and raised in the Philippines, but has spent some time in China, and is now based in the United States. While he was the China Project Associate of the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Program, he wrote several curriculum units on Chinese history and civilization for grades 6-12 teachers. He has taught at Ateneo de Manila University and University of San Francisco. Presently, he is Five College Associate Professor of History at University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He teaches courses on Pacific empires, Philippine colonial history, Asian American history, the Chinese diaspora, and world history.