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In proposing a materialist history of Chinese writing in the Malay world, my current book tracks the evolution of language and labor within the political genealogies of liberalism, anarchism, communism, nationalism, and popular religion in island Southeast Asia, starting from the 1850s. Specifically, I argue that colonial, national, and international actors saw Chinese writing, in the broad sense of documentation, translation, script, literature, and inscription, as a productive space to define migrant labor as a linguistic subject encountering British and Dutch colonial capitalism in present-day Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Apart from my book, I am working on an essay on literary humanism and modernism; translations of manifestos on anti-colonialism and universal education; a web-based project, “Visualizing Keywords in Malaysian-Chinese Literary History via Digital Humanities Methods,” which aims to chart the relationship between writing and resource extraction. A forthcoming book chapter studies Chinese styles of colonial legal advocacy.