CFP – Migration in/from/to Southeast and East Asia: Postcolonial Perspectives

Call for Papers: International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) 9, 5-9 July, Adelaide

Panel Title: Migration in/from/to Southeast and East Asia: Postcolonial Perspectives

Convenor: Sin Yee Koh (City University of Hong Kong)

Discussant: Brenda Yeoh (National University of Singapore)

Postcolonialism has been recently advocated as an important approach to advance existing theoretical understandings of migration (McIlwaine, 2008; Mains et al., 2013; Nair, 2013). Scholars are increasingly using postcolonialism as a lens to analyse various types of migration (e.g. Fechter & Walsh, 2010; Raghuram, 2009; Sharpe, 2014; Shin, 2010; Wang, Wong & Zheng, 2013; Yeoh, 2013). This panel seeks to extend this emergent development in migration studies by focusing on migration in/from/to Southeast and East Asia. For a start, many Southeast and East Asian countries were former colonies, and continue to see substantial migration flows to and from their former empires. Furthermore, migration in/from/to Southeast and East Asia are intertwined with postcolonial notions of race, class, gender, and diaspora in historically and epistemologically complex ways.

This panel invites papers that creatively address how postcolonial approaches can be usefully employed to analyse migration in Southeast and East Asian contexts. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Colonial legacies and postcolonial migration
  • Migration as postcolonial product (e.g. cultures of migration, migration regimes, migration policies and programmes)
  • Migrants (and migrant bodies) as postcolonial subjects (e.g. othered, racialised, classed, gendered, sexualised)
  • Migration and postcolonial ties between sending and receiving contexts (e.g. power politics and international relations, migration and the development agenda)
  • Migration and postcolonial discourse (e.g. multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, transnationalism)
  • Methodological reflections

While the panel welcomes papers presenting empirical work, the aim is to collectively interrogate the extent to which postcolonial perspectives can challenge, illuminate, and problematise migration in Southeast and East Asian contexts.

Please send an abstract of up to 250 words (including paper title), as well as author affiliation and full contact details, to Sin Yee Koh at before 7 September 2014.


  • Fechter, A.-M., & Walsh, K. (2010). Examining ‘expatriate’ continuities: Postcolonial approaches to mobile professionals. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 36(8), 1197-1210.
  • Mains, S. P., Gilmartin, M., Cullen, D., Mohammad, R., Tolia-Kelly, D. P., Raghuram, P., & Winders, J. (2013). Postcolonial migrations. Social & Cultural Geography, 14(2), 131-144.
  • McIlwaine, C. (2008). The postcolonial practices of international migration: Latin American migration to London. Paper presented at the ‘Building on postcolonial economies: Making connections and developing pedagogies’ seminar, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University.
  • Nair, P. (2013). Postcolonial theories of migration. In I. Ness (Ed.), The encyclopedia of global human migration (Vol. IV Ind-Rem, pp. 2452-2459): Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
  • Raghuram, P. (2009). Caring about ‘brain drain’ migration in a postcolonial world. Geoforum, 40(1), 25-33.
  • Sharpe, M.O. (2014). Postcolonial citizens and ethnic migration. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Shin, H. (2010). Colonial legacy of ethno-racial inequality in Japan. Theory & Society, 39(3/4), 327-342.
  • Wang, C., Wong, S.-l., & Zheng, V. (2013). Postcolonial border crossing. Asian Population Studies, 10(1), 75-95.
  • Yeoh, B. S. A. (2013). ‘Upwards’ or ‘sideways’ cosmopolitanism? Talent/labour/marriage migrations in the globalising city-state of Singapore. Migration Studies, 1(1), 96-116.

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