Jiazhai: In Search of My Mother's Childhood House
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The concept of home has become increasingly complex and challenging to deﬁ ne in modern times, as traditional notions of home are being challenged by diverse family structures, globalization and mobility, economic instability, social and political dynamics, and subjective interpretations of home. This thesis, Jiazhai (In Chinese, “Jia” stands for home, while “Zhai” means house), explores the idea of home and settlement through a collection of recently discovered family stories from my mother’s side in Xiamen, China. Through online interviews with my family members, I asked my mother and my grandmother to recall and draw their childhood memories of home. Based on their stories and drawings, I tried to reconstruct the untold family history, family tree, and the old family house in Kulangsu (historically an international settlement in the early 20th century), which belonged to an unknown family member of mine - my great-grandfather, a Filipino overseas Chinese. In addition, the thesis documents how the concept of home was experienced and transformed during diﬀ erent periods, including pre-modern China in the 1930s, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s, and the Chinese economic reform in the 1980s. Through these transformations, it records the journey of my family’s settlement that ultimately led to our current home in Xiamen. While the thesis recollects and reorganizes my family’s journey of placements, it aims to unfold how the idea of home, family, and settlement transformed over the past century in China.
Cite this version of the work
Xin Lan (2023). Jiazhai: In Search of My Mother's Childhood House. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19445