Dr. Mònica Ginés-Blasi

Postdoctoral Guest Researcher (Marie Sklodowska Curie Action Fellow)

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies
October 2022 - March 2023

École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France
monica.gines-blasi@ens-lyon.fr and mgines@uni-bonn.de 

Mònica Ginés 01.jpg
© Ginés

Academic Profile

“Trading Chinese Migrants: Networks of Human Trafficking 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, 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). 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.

Mònica Ginés-Blasi is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Researcher at the Institut d’Asie Orientale (IAO) of the École Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Lyon (2022-24). She has recently enjoyed a Henz Heinen Kolleg Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies and is also affiliated to the research group ALTER: Crisis, Otherness and Representation at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), in Barcelona. Her research focuses on the international networks operating Chinese indentured labour migration and the trafficking of children and women from treaty-port China to the Atlantic and to Southeast Asia. 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 has published various journal articles on the trade in Chinese migrants to Spanish colonies and is currently preparing two monographs.

Postdoctoral experience

2022-2024 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institut d’Asie Orientale of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon.

2022-2023 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Secondment Fellow at the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), University of Bonn.

2021-2022 Heinz Heinen Kolleg Postdoctoral Fellowships, Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS), University of Bonn.

2019-2021 Gerda Henkel Stiftung Postdoctoral Scholar, Düsseldorf. Researcher at ALTER: Crisis, Otherness and Representation Research Group, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Barcelona.

2017-2019 Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Taipei. Researcher at ALTER: Crisis, Otherness and Representation Research Group (UOC), Barcelona.

2015-2017 Chinese Grant, Spanish Institute of Official Credit (ICO). Beijing Normal University (北京师范大学, BNU), Beijing (PRC).


2013 PhD History of Art, Universitat de Barcelona (UB).

Qualification: Excellent Cum Laude (highest qualification).

Dissertation: “El col·leccionisme entre Catalunya i la Xina (1876-1895)” [‘Chinese art collections in Catalonia (1876-1895)’]. Supervisor: Mireia Freixa Serra (UB), Spain; second supervisor: Josep Maria Fradera, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), Spain.

2008 MA Master in Arts, Leiden Universiteit.

2011 BA East Asian Studies, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and UPF.

2007 BA History of Art, UB. Last year undertaken under an Erasmus Grant at Universiteit Van Amsterdam (UvA).

Research expeditions and stays in foreign public research centers

2022 Havana, archival fieldwork at the Archivo Nacional de Cuba.

2021 The Hague, archival fieldwork at the Nationaal Archief (NA).

2020 Lisbon, archival fieldwork at the Arquivo Histórico da Marinha (AHM), Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU), Arquivo Histórico Diplomático (AHD), Arquivo Nacional Torre do Tombo (ANTT), and Centro Científico e Cultural de Macau (CCCM).

2019 Cambridge, archival fieldwork at the Jardine Matheson Archive (JMA), Cambridge University Library.

2019 London, archival fieldwork at the British National Archives (NA), Kew Gardens; the British Library, and the London School of Economics (LSE) Women’s Library.

2018 Macau, archival fieldwork at the Arquivo de Macau (澳门档案馆).

2018 Manila, archival fieldwork at the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP).

2018 Taipei, Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica (中央研究院,近史所), Visiting Scholar (postdoctoral), Archival research at the Archives of the Institute of Modern History.

2018 Madrid, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CSIC-CCHS), Visiting Scholar (postdoctoral), Supervisor: María Dolores Elizalde. Archival fieldwork at the Archivo Histórico Nacional (AHN) and at CSIC.

2013 Hong Kong University, Department of Fine Arts, Visiting Scholar (predoctoral), Supervisor: Gregory Thomas. Travel grant awarded by the Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris a la Recerca (AGAUR). Public funding for research and universities, Generalitat de Catalunya.

  • Forthcoming 2023 ‘Las niñas del Inglewood: tráfico infantil y femenino en China y el “comercio de culíes” a Cuba (1855)’, Revista de Historia Contemporánea.
  • 2022 ‘The International Trafficking of Chinese Children and its Conflicting Legalities in Mid-Nineteenth Century Treaty-Port China’, Slavery and Abolition.
  • 2022 ‘The “Coolie Trade” via Southeast Asia: Exporting Chinese Indentured Labourers to Cuba through the Spanish Philippines’, in Tackling Coerced Labour Regimes in Asia: Towards a Comparative Model, ed. by Kate Ekama, Lisa Hellmann, and Matthias van Rossum (DeGruyter).
  • 2021 ‘Exploiting Chinese Labour Emigration in Treaty Ports: The Role of Spanish Consulates in the “Coolie Trade”’, International Review of Social History, 68, 1.
  • 2020 ‘A Philippine “Coolie Trade”: Trade and Exploitation of Chinese Labour in Spanish Colonial Philippines, 1850-1898’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 51, 3.
  • 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, ed. 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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