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CFP- 2020 Conference on Transnational Migration and Family Processes in Greater China and Beyond

Date: 17-18 December 2020

Organiser : Centre for Greater China Studies, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Keynote Speakers:

Dr Johanna Waters

Reader in Human Geography and Migration Studies, University College London

Prof Lorretta Baldassar 

Professor in Anthropology and Sociology, University of Western Australia

Transnational families are not new, but they are more numerous, diverse and complex now than ever before in the twenty-first century’s globalising world. Transnational families encompass families with members who live across national borders but sustain close ties and relationship. The transnational arrangements of these families take a multitude of forms including transnational couples (e.g. migrant spouse and non-migrant spouse), migrant parents and their left-behind children who remain at ‘home’, and migrants and their elderly non-migrant parents and siblings. Often these families have to make choices at the cross-roads of micro dimensions that are related to individual and familial aspirations, and macro dimensions that are related to structural opportunities and constraints as well as state policies and regulations. Moreover, transnational families and ties are constantly established, maintained, re-configured and curtailed over time and borders.

Since the 1990s, heightened scholarly attention from different disciplines and studies have engaged the formation, process and effects of transnational living arrangements on family members from different class and migration background.  The most fruitful research effort on transnational families, households and intimate relations has largely been collected at the phase of migration or separation with a focus on the experiences of those who have migrated. The larger vein of work exploring issues related to transnational family migration has centred in the Global North.

While existing studies provide valuable insights, the interplay between time, space and migration in transnational families has received less scholarly attention. How do experiences of transnational migration affect later life family relationships and migratory trajectories? How does transnational migration affect those who have remained in or returned to their homeland? How do experiences of transnational migration affect intergenerational support? How do migration processes change over time, across different generations of transnational families? How do different generations understand their transnational experiences and articulate generational differences? Moreover, studies on transnational family migration processes within the context of the Greater China region have lagged as there has been a focus on the transnational family practices of migrants in the United States and Europe from the Latin America, Caribbean, and Africa. Against the background of rapid demographic, political and socio-economic changes and the diverse and highly mobile populations in this region, the formation of transnational families are increasingly diverse and complex.

This conference aims to facilitate discussion between scholars from sociology, anthropology, geography as well as neighbouring research disciplines who work on various types of transnational migration and family processes in Greater China. Papers focusing on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, mainland China and overseas Chinese societies are particularly welcome. The expected contributions could cover the following research themes with a focus on the interplay between time, space and migration: 

1.                Life transitions and transnational family migration

2.                Intergenerational family relations within transnational families

3.                Comparative cross-generational analysis

4.                Transnational migration, gender and life course

5.                Children in transnational family migration

6.                Transnational migratory trajectories

The conference will run over two days in a single stream. It will take the form of a small, focused, highly interactive research workshop rather than a conventional conference, with discussants assigned and paper pre-circulated to participants.


Deadline for abstract submission: 31 March 2020

Notification of paper acceptance: 17 May 2020

Deadline for full papers (6000-7000 words) to be submitted to the organiser for pre-circulations to conference participants: 17 October 2020

Conference: 17 December to 18 December 2020


Interested researchers are invited to submit an abstract (max. 300 words) and bio (max. 150 words) words, no later than 31 March 2020. For those accepted, full papers (6000-7000 words) will need to be submitted for pre-circulations to conference participants by 17 October 2020. Selected conference papers are expected to be published in an edited book or peer-reviewed journal as a special collection (scheduled for 2021), hence the paper to the conference should not have been already published elsewhere. 


Financial subsidy to offset travel cost and accommodation will be available to a limited number of participants from overseas. For reimbursement of expenses, full paper needs to be submitted by 17 October 2020. Paper proposals and application for funding support should be submitted via the conference website -


Dr Lucille Ngan

Associate Professor, Department of Social Science of Social Science, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong

Dr Anita Chan

Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, The Education University of Hong Kong


For administrative enquiries, please contact Ms Stephanie Wong, Centre for Greater China Studies, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong  at or +852 3963 5614.

For enquiries about the conference, please contact Dr Lucille Ngan, Department of Social Science, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong  at or +852 3963 5118.


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