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Fairbank Center Panel Discussion – Transnational Aging in the Chinese Diaspora
September 30, 2021 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Sara L. Friedman, Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies, Indiana University
Russell King, Professor of Geography, University of Sussex
Sarah Lamb, Barbara Mandel Professor of Humanistic Social Sciences and Professor of Anthropology, Brandeis University
Andrea Louie, Professor of Anthropology, Michigan State University
Nicole Newendorp, Associate Director and Lecturer, Social Studies, Harvard University
Ken Chih-Yan Sun, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminology, Villanova University
Nearly 4.3 million immigrants in the United States are age sixty-five and over. Research predicts that the number of nonwhite elderly immigrants will continue to grow, doubling to 36 percent of the senior population by 2050. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of older migrants, the familial and social networks in which they are embedded remain in place and can translate into important protective resources. At the same time, Chinese societies – e.g., mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong – have experienced rapid and large-scale social and cultural transformation over the past few decades, resulting in complex feelings and competing perspectives by older migrants on their homeland(s). In this workshop, six scholars in the fields of migration, aging, and Chinese studies grapple with the new frontier of studies on migration and life transition by focusing on two recent ethnographies about transnational aging in the Chinese diaspora. One highlights Chinese immigrants who relocate to the US at a later life stage; the other examines long-term Taiwanese immigrants who spent decades navigating life in American society and transnationally. Through our conversation, we seek to collaboratively rethink major issues and the understudied dimensions of aging and migration.