SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Bridging Across or Sanwiched Between the Strait? The In-Between Identity of Chinese Marriage Immigrant Women in Taiwan

Isabelle Cheng

Date: 23 February 2011Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 23 February 2011Time: 7:30 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: 116

Type of Event: Seminar

Since November 1987, when Taiwan resumed contact with China, female marriage migration from China to Taiwan has been one of the ongoing social changes across the Strait. Up to the end of 2010, the total number of Chinese wives who entered and resided in Taiwan amounted to 279,215, 31.34 percent of whom (87,527 persons) have acquired citizenship and become eligible to vote in Taiwan’s elections. How do Chinese immigrants see themselves in relation to Taiwan and China? Informed by in-depth interviews with 39 Chinese women, this presentation is a preliminary exploration into this challenging question. Taking a bottom-up perspective, this presentation tries to investigate how they talk about and enact their identification in their daily life experiences, which are affected by the immigration legislation, the linguistic complexities, and childrearing experiences. Seeing migration as a rite of passage through which immigrants experience the change of legal status and life course, this presentation argues that they may develop an in-between identity with Taiwan and China as a wife, mother and citizen.

About the Speaker:

Isabelle Cheng is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Politics and International Studies, SOAS. Her doctoral research is focused on female marriage migration from Southeast Asia and China to Taiwan. Since she started her research, she has presented her work at interdisciplinary conferences focusing on migration and Taiwan studies. Her research interests include identity, migration, nationalism, citizenship, and the Chinese Diaspora (Overseas Chinese). She is also the translator of China’s Strategy for Plant Conservation (Chinese to English) and A CITES Manual for Botanic Gardens (English to Chinese).

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