Book Launch

We hope you can join us for the launch of Colonialism and Male Domestic Service across the Asia Pacific by Julia Martínez, Claire Lowrie, Frances Steel and Victoria Haskins (Bloomsbury 2019). The book will be launched by Professor Penny Russell at the University of Sydney on 18 February from 5 pm to 6 pm (Refectory Room H113). Light refreshments will be served. For more details and to RSVP please click here.

About the book:

Examining the role of Asian and indigenous male servants across the Asia Pacific from the late-19th century to the 1930s, this study shows how their ubiquitous presence in these purportedly 'humble' jobs gave them a degree of cultural influence that has been largely overlooked in the literature on labour mobility in the age of empire.

With case studies from British Hong Kong, Singapore, Northern Australia, Fiji and British Columbia, French Indochina, the American Philippines and the Dutch East Indies, the book delves into the intimate and often conflicted relationships between European and American colonists and their servants. It explores the lives of 'houseboys', cooks and gardeners in the colonial home, considers the bell-boys and waiters in the grand colonial hotels, and follows the stewards and cabin-boys on steamships travelling across the Indian and Pacific Oceans. This broad conception of service allows Colonialism and Male Domestic Service to illuminate trans-colonial or cross-border influences through the mobility of servants and their employers.

This path-breaking study is an important book for students and scholars of colonialism, labour history and the Asia Pacific region.