6th Graduate Student Conference threw light on “Culture, Migration and Identity”

Graduate students and young scholars from Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, Philippines, the United States, Canada, and Croatia gathered together at the Hong Kong Baptist University on Friday, 20 April 2018 to throw light on their knowledge towards “Culture, Migration and Identity: Entering the 21 Century.” 


Delivering the opening remarks, Prof. Adrian J. Bailey, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, extended a warm welcome to conference participants, in particular the two keynote speakers, Prof. Pei-chia Lan from Department of Sociology in National Taiwan University, and Dr. Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho from Department of Geography in National University of Singapore.  Prof. Bailey said, “The Conference Organising Committee has successfully invited two globally renowned migration experts, Prof. Lan and Dr. Ho, to help set the agenda and push the debate forward.  I hope that the profound understanding of such distinguished experts and the innovation, creativity and unique insights of our interdisciplinary graduate student participants will lead to a strong cross-fertilization effect, sparking new insights and connecting important thoughts, and challenging disciplinary paradigms.”


Through a comparative study on the recruitment and training of migrant care workers in Taiwan and Japan, Prof. Pei-Chia Lan’s enlightened participants on how carework is culturally defined and institutionally regulated in different ways.  The title of her speech is “Negotiating Care Culture and Ethnic Difference: Recruiting Migrant CareWorkers in Taiwan and Japan”.  Participants learned from Prof. Lan that Taiwan and Japan demonstrates two distinct approaches to the negotiation of care culture and ethnic difference, positioning migrant care workers as either “deferential surrogates” or “professional others.”


In the afternoon, Dr. Elaine Lynn-Ee Ho addressed a thought-provoking speech on “Incongruence and multi-directionality: Re-theorising migration and citizenship through the lens of China”. She considers Mainland Chinese ‘return’ or re-migration, and analyses it in relation to the competing stakeholdership claims of internal and international migrants who are co-present in Chinese cities. Emigration, immigration and re-migration are brought under the same analytical framework, rather than studying them as discrete fields.


The one-day conference attracted over 80 participants. Nearly 40 presenters have shared their research work in the parallel sessions, and their presentation stimulated discussion from different angles around the theme.