‘Memory, Migration and Translation: Representing the Voiceless’


On 18 June 2022, Professor Gregory Lee, the founding professor of Chinese Studies and Head of the Department of Chinese Studies at the University of St Andrews, gave a public lecture entitled “Memory, Migration and Translation: Representing the Voiceless” at UCD Confucius Institute as part of the series of events to celebrate “The United Nations Chinese Language Day”. Professor Liming Wang, Director of the UCD Confucius Institute, chaired the lecture.

The lecture explored the life of early Chinese immigrants in Britain, starting from his early childhood experiences. At the beginning of the lecture, Professor Lee shared with us the story of his Chinese grandfather's first arrival in Britain, describing the hardships of Chinese immigrants’ lives in the 1830s and 1840s. Then, Professor Lee talked about the differences between what hybrid children experienced at that time and what Chinese and Chinese offspring experienced, and then discussed the anti-Chinese sentiments of the British government and society at that time. In the Q&A session at the end of the lecture, Professor Lee had an interesting and insightful conversation with the audience about the influence of his Chinese grandfather on himself and whether the anti-Chinese sentiments would be repeated in current day and age.

The lecture was well attended by close to 80 students and scholars, which was also streamed online. The topic of Professor Lee’s lecture was insightful and thought-provoking. He used a lot of historical facts to interpret the hard life of the early British Chinese immigrants from the perspective of a scholar of Chinese descent. He spoke out the injustice suffered by the voiceless.