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Wen-Yi Huang – Families Divided: Migration and Those Left Behind in Fifth- and Sixth-Century China
October 1, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Speaker: Wen-Yi Huang, An Wang Post-Doctoral Fellow, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
In this talk I explore the impact of migration on family members left behind, particularly those whose parents, children, siblings, and spouses were forcibly moved to the Northern Wei (386-534 CE) from four successive southern states of Eastern Jin (317-420 CE), Liu-Song (420-479 CE), Southern Qi (479-502 CE), and Liang (502-557 CE). I will do so by asking three questions: how did the families recover the migrants in a time of conflict? How did they repatriate the remains of the migrants across political divides and spatial distance? How did they cope with the consequences of their husbands or fathers’ dual marriages on both sides of the border? The talk highlights the agency of the left-behind families in the migration process, their changing relationships with the migrants, and the shifting meaning of home. Examining the roles of the state in the split-families issue, it also seeks to illuminate the state’s influence on migration at the private, familial scale.