Dr. Mònica Ginés-Blasi


Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
Room: 2.002
Niebuhrstr. 5
D-53113 Bonn


Mònica Ginés Blasi
© Mònica Ginés Blasi

Academic Profile

Mònica Ginés-Blasi is a postdoctoral researcher affiliated to the research group ALTER: Crisis, Otherness and Representation at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). She received her Ph.D. in History of Art at the University of Barcelona (UB, 2013), a Master in Arts at Leiden University (2008), and two bachelor degrees in History of Art and East Asian Studies at UB (2006) and Pompeu Fabra University (2011). Although her initial academic profile had an art history focus, she has deviated towards the study of nineteenth-century Chinese human trafficking and Sino-foreign international relations in her postdoctoral research. Her current focus is on the international networks operating Chinese indentured labour migration, child and women trafficking in treaty-port China and beyond. She has received several research grants to delve into this subject, such as a Gerda Henkel Foundation Scholarship (2019-2021) and a Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship (2017-2019). She has broad experience in international archival research, and has performed research as a visiting scholar at the Institute of History of Academia Sinica (Taipei), at Hong Kong University and at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC-CCHS) in Madrid. She is also a lecturer at the International University of Catalonia (UIC) and at UOC on Chinese modern and contemporary history, art history and material culture, and has also worked in public institutions as a documentalist.

Trading Chinese Migrants: International Networks of Human Traffic in Treaty Port China (1830-1930s)

This project studies the interconnections between three distinct yet linked forms of coerced labour and forced relocation in China: the trafficking of indentured labourers, children and women to Latin America and Southeast Asia. Asymmetrical dependency renders an analytical viewpoint which is absolutely necessary to unravel the relationship between these forms of human trade, as well as with previous forms of slavery in China, and in the place of destination—such as Cuban slavery. Despite the excellent work of historians of the ‘coolie trade’ to Latin America and the Caribbean (Pérez de la Riva 1976; Hu-DeHart 1994; Yun 2008; López 2013; Zeuske 2016; Narváez 2019), the coolie trade, the exploitation of Chinese labourers to destinations aside from Latin America, the trade in sexually exploited women, and in children in conditions of servitude have not been analysed in an integrative manner from this theoretical standpoint.

This project studies the trafficking of women and children alongside the coolie trade from the earliest indications of international female trafficking in the 1830s, to the abolitionist ordinances issued in various Southeast Asian colonies in the 1930s. It particularly focuses on the role of intermediaries such as Chinese local authorities, Western consulates and consular officials in China, immigration agents, companies, brokers, ship owners, and captains in the south China coast and overseas, as well as on the international political strategies which the nations involved implemented through diplomacy and legislation. A special attention will be put upon those ports with the strongest migratory flow, particularly Xiamen (also called Amoy), Macau, Shantou (or Swatow), Ningbo, Hong Kong, Wusong, and Guangzhou (Canton) (Meagher 2008; Ginés-Blasi 2020; Murakami 2015). This project aims at illuminating the complex transnational networks operating human trafficking in China and beyond, and how they determined the international circulation of Chinese migrants in an integrative perspective. It will particularly address the specific alignments which formed these networks, how these agencies coordinated, operated, became entangled or collided, and how they bridged and activated connections between these three types of human trafficking.

  • 2020. ‘A Philippine “Coolie Trade”: Trade and Exploitation of Chinese Labour in Spanish Colonial Philippines, 1850-1898’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 51, 3.
  • 2020. ‘Exploiting Chinese Labour Emigration in Treaty Ports: The Role of Spanish Consulates in the “Coolie Trade”’, International Review of Social History, 68, 1.
  • ‘2017. Eduard Toda i Güell i el col·leccionisme d’art i cultura material de la Xina a Catalunya’, in Mercat de l'Art, Col·leccionisme i Museus, edited by Bonaventura Bassegoda i Hugas and Ignasi Domènech (Bellaterra: Servei de Publicacions de la UAB).
  • 2015. ‘Art i cultura material de la Xina en les col·leccions privades de la Barcelona vuitcentista’, Locus Amoenus, 13.
  • 2014. “El col·leccionisme entre Catalunya i la Xina (1876-1895)” [‘Chinese art collections in Catalonia (1876-1895)’], Thesis (Universitat de Barcelona).
  • 2013. ‘Eduard Toda i Güell: From Vice-Consul of Spain in China to the Renaixença in Barcelona (1871-84)’, Entremons: UPF Journal of World History, 5.
  • 2011. ‘Estudi preliminar de la col·lecció de moneda xinesa de la Biblioteca Museu Balaguer’, Butlletí de la Biblioteca Museu Balaguer, 4.
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