I am an historian of labour and migration in Australia and Asia. I am currently an Australian Research Council Future Fellow undertaking a four-year project on the history of Asian and indigenous women's mobility in Australia and Southeast Asia. In 1932, the League of Nations published a survey of the 'Traffic in women and children in the East' aiming to draw attention to the presence of women working in the sex industry in Asia. My project explores this historical phenomenon, tracing the networks of women's mobility in the region and highlighting the way in which the League of Nations and colonial governments framed women's mobility in terms of illicit migration. My other projects include a study of 'houseboys' in domestic service in the colonial Asia-Pacific (an ARC project with Victoria Haskins, Claire Lowrie & Frances Steel) and a forthcoming book (with Adrian Vickers), The Pearl Frontier on Indonesian indentured labour in north Australia.
My research project for this IIAS and African Studies Centre fellowship is an historical study of Chinese indentured labour in French Congo during the late colonial period. By the 1920s the employment of Asian indentured labour was already under coming under considerable international criticism from the ILO, and yet the French colonial government was still actively transporting workers to their various colonies. This project explores how the Chinese workers and government responded to the French proposal to send Chinese to Africa.