‘Governing Marriage Migrations: Perspectives from Mainland China and Taiwan’ is published

The June 2015 special issue of online journal Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review on ‘Governing Marriage Migrations: Perspectives from Mainland China and Taiwan’ is published featuring an introduction by co-editors  Elena Barbanatseva (University of Manchester) , Biao Xiang (University of Oxford), and Antonia Chao (Tunghai University) and five original articles by Hongfang Hao (Kyoto University), Caroline Grillot (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology), Elena Barabantseva Manchester), Mei-Hua Chen (National Sun Yat-sen University), and Hsun-Hui Tseng (Chinese University of Hong Kong).

This special issue results from  the workshop which took place as part of BICC Phase II research network ‘Borders of Migration’ at Tunghai University in January 2014. More information about the workshop is available from the workshop’s website.

‘Borders of Migration’ research network progress update

As part of the AHRC-funded research network `Borders of migration’, Elena Barabantseva spent ten days (16-27 June 2012) in Nanning, Guangxi. During this period she established contacts with the external partners, conducted preliminary research, discussed and made arrangements for future fieldwork and research workshop. In particular, Elena met with the colleagues at the Guangxi University for Nationalities and at the Guangxi Academy of Social Sciences. The meetings were dedicated to the discussion of anticipated fieldwork, as well as to the planning of the research workshop. In addition to the meetings with the researchers, Elena met with the representatives of the following non-governmental organisations working in the border area of Guangxi: All-China Women’s Federation, World Vision, and Action Aid. During this visit Elena conducted library-based research, and collected Chinese academic materials on the relevant research issues.


On 22 April 2013 Antonia Chao gave a research seminar at Manchester (co-hosted by the Centre for Chinese Studies and Anthropology Department) entitled ‘Encountering Sexual Aliens: State Sovereignty and the Heteronormative Mechanism at Work on the Margins of Taiwan’. Elena and Antonia also met for a research network’s workshop planning meeting. The research network’s bi-lingual workshop entitled ‘Marriage Migration and Citizenship Issues: Perspectives from Mainland China and Taiwan’ will take place at Tunghai University (Taiwan) on 2-4 January 2014.


In March-April 2013 Wu Guofu and Yang Jinghua (Guangxi University for Nationalities) conducted a fieldwork study into cross-border migration issues between China and Vietnam in two Yao villages in Ningming county on Sino-Vietnamese border, and the first findings of this research will be presented by Wu Guofu and Elena Barabanseva at the ICAS 8 conference in Macao in June 2013. Elena will also talk about this research at the workshop on ‘Southeast Asia and Regional Security: New Forms of Chinese Geopolitics and the US Asian Pivot’ at SOAS on 7 June 2013.


Borders of Migration talk, Professor Antonia Chao, 22nd April

As part of the the Borders of Migration research network, Professor Antonia Chao (Tunghai University, Taiwan) will present a talk hosted by the Centre for Chinese Studies and Anthropology Department at the University of Manchester

‘Encountering Sexual Aliens: State Sovereignty and the Heteronormative Mechanism at Work on the Margins of Taiwan’

Monday 22 April 2012, 4. 15pm, 2.016/017, Second Floor Boardroom, Arthur Lewis Building

Abstract: As many scholars of migration studies have shown in their works, the increasingly complicated patterns of border-crossing activities in the contemporary age of globalization have posed a grave challenge to the feasibility of the nation-state model conventionally held by both the sending and receiving countries. Some have also highlighted the fact that gender politics plays a significant, while often hidden, role in shaping the phenomenon that is recognized generally as “the feminization of globalization”. Based on ethnographic research conducted on Taiwan’s three crucial sites of national borders, this talk mined the intersections between border control, state sovereignty, national belonging and “perverted sexualities”. The focus was on three forms of subjects, perceived as “sexual aliens”, whose trans-migratory acts violate the principle of biological and heterosexual reproduction that upholds the meanings, practices and institutions of border control. The normalizing regulations imposed upon these subjects, be they “lived” or “imaginary”, highlight three corresponding sites of bio-political governance at once outside of, within, and right along the borders of Taiwan’s geographical territories. While all are in keeping with the agenda of heteronormativity, these sites are situated in a distinct circuit of transnational traffic of sexualities and thus require different modes of governance. Intentionally or coincidentally, these modes of governance coordinate with each other in helping construct a nation whose sovereignty has been in perpetual crisis within the international political community.