[URBANTH-L] CFP: Migrations between East and West: Normalizing the Periphery Workshop (China)

Angela Jancius acjancius at ysu.edu
Sun Oct 16 21:32:01 EDT 2005

Call for Papers

Migrations between East and West: Normalizing the Periphery

2-5 April 2006
Research School for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University, China

Research School for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen University
Institute for Ethnic and Migration Studies, University of Amsterdam
David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies &
Wing Lung Bank International Institute for Business Development,
Hong Kong Baptist University

Since the 1990s migration studies have been influenced by several
developments. First, diasporic communities have become more stratified
because of increasing movement of migrant workers of all sorts: manual
laborers, domestic helpers, women, professionals, scholars, students,
entrepreneurs and managers. Second, the media have played an increasingly
visible role in debates on migration and communication technology has
profoundly changed the character of diasporic communities. Third, domestic
and/or regional migrations have been complicated by transnational
movements. Finally, East-West migrations have affected debates on security
and inter-state relations at the global level.

The study of East-West migrations thus provides a unique opportunity to
reframe transnational flows of ideas, people, capital and technology in the
context of globalization. Mainstream social science has treated migrants as
marginal to mainstream society characterized by nation building on the
basis of ethnic and racial unity. The study of East-West migrations may
help overcome the resulting conceptual dichotomies, which have been
preventing us from understanding the complexities of migration,
assimilation and adaptation.

Four dichotomies require our attention. First, there is the one between
host and guest, national and foreign, permanence and mobility, fixity and
flexibility. The past two decades have seen an increased awareness of
diaspora/transnational communities that may profit economically and
politically from their own connections and from linkages with their home
countries. It seems, however, that this has not reduced tensions between
majority and minority populations in many nation-states; on the contrary,
it may even have increased hostilities between migrants and their host
communities. One may speculate that the tendency to conceptualize diasporic
communities as distinct social, cultural, economic and political entities
endangers global peace.

The second dichotomy concerns the borders between legal and illegal,
regular and irregular, wanted and unsolicited, ethical and unethical.
Problems of defining migration are exemplified by the difficulty of legally
admitting migrants into the host societies. Technically speaking, migration
is often formally illegal but it is nevertheless accepted and tolerated for
ethical, political or practical reasons - compassion, charity,
humanitarianism, expedience, etc. How to come to terms with this
contradiction is a major challenge for migration studies.

The division between East and West is yet another crucial issue concerning
migration studies. Ethnic stereotyping often plays a key role in the
reception of migrants. Today a discourse about the incompatible nature of
Islam and Secularism is much in evidence but, more generally, in looking at
East West migration, how far have we moved beyond Orientalism, and
Occidentalism in our conception of these processes? Another way to break
through prejudice and stereotyping is to study intra-Asian migration and
compare with migration along the East - West axis and elsewhere in the

Lastly, within the globalization process we witness that not all are
equally mobile. Typically highly skilled migrants find employment abroad
while at the same time the demand for unskilled work is clearly on the
increase. For highly skilled workers (expatriates) a worldwide labor market
has come into being that is hardly touched by government regulations,
whereas the mobility of unskilled labor tends to be restricted by host
governments. Given that demand and supply are not affected by these
restrictions much of this migration takes place in an irregular fashion.

Submission of paper abstracts:
Deadline for submission of abstracts (200-300 words) is 10 November 2005.
Please send the abstract to:
Prof. Jan Rath, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies, University of
Email: j.c.rath at uva.nl <mailto:j.c.rath at uva.nl>
Prof. Jeroen Doomernik, Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies,
University of Amsterdam
Email: j.m.j.doomernik at uva.nl <mailto:j.m.j.doomernik at uva.nl>
Prof. Zhuang Guotu, Research School for Southeast Asian Studies, Xiamen
Email: gtzhuang at jingxian.xmu.edu.cn <mailto:gtzhuang at jingxian.xmu.edu.cn>

Important Dates
Ø          1 December 2005: notification of acceptance
Ø          2 January 2006: deadline for registration
Ø          1 March 2006: deadline for submission of full papers (10,000 -
12,000 words)

Local hospitality will be offered to all accepted participants. In
principle, travel costs are to be covered by the participants themselves. A
refereed book publication is envisaged based on selected workshop papers.


April 2, 2006, Registration

April 3, 2006, Panels:

1.      Types of East-West Migration, Past to Present
a.      Determining factors and extent of migration
b.      Mobility of knowledge workers and expatriates
c.      Globalization and delocation of - low skilled - service activities

2.      Diaspora and Construction of Satellite and Rooted Communities
a.      Growing local roots - Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Little India, 
         Wenzhoujie - versus ethnic enclaves
b.      Communication technology and changing diasporic identities

April 4, 2006, Panels:

3.      Politics of divided interests
a.      Criminalization of migration processes (e.g. human smuggling 
b.      Migration and national security (divided loyalties)
c.      Labour exploitation: illegal and illicit work (e.g. trafficking)

4.      Security, Diplomacy and International Relations
a.      National sovereignty versus universal human rights
b.      Migration as subject of bi- and multi-lateral agreements

April 5, 2006, Fieldtrip and farewell

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