“Multicultural Asia” (2012-13)

(Since 2009, continuing project)

Name of person in charge: Prof. Nana Oishi

a. goals

The goal of this research unit is to build a community of scholars, centered around the ICC, studying issues related to multiculturalism, international migration and intercultural contact, and related concepts of transnationalism, ethnic conflict and intercultural community formation, in Asia and the Pacific. All of the members are involved in empirical research projects that speak to the issues described above, and the project’s main purpose is to promote intellectual synergies, while providing modest financial and practical support to empirical research projects and workshops leading to publication. Individual research projects have external funding (see below).

Although multiculturalism remains a key term in the project from the previous years (2009-2011) the focus of this year’s plans is on international migration research in the Asian Pacific context. Concretely, the plan this year is a workshop in December on skilled migration in Asia and the Pacific. The workshop will focus on empirical research on expatriates circulating among Asian Pacific cities, including Tokyo and Shanghai, and other regional and global cities. Questions include, why people engage in multiple migrations, and alternatively why once mobile professionals, settle in some cities rather than others. What are the factors that hinder or facilitate mobility and settlement. The invited speakers will all be empirical researchers studying skilled migrant populations in East Asia, leading to a journal special issue.

Activities of proposed research unit members:
Nana Oishi is studying multiple migrations among highly skilled migrants and the problems that highly skilled migrants face in Japan.
James Farrer is working the idea of multiculturalism as it relates to concepts of ‘urban citizenship’ for foreign residents in Shanghai. His project also looks comparatively at notions of urban citizenship in other cities with the hope of developing concepts of multiculturalism at the urban level that describe the involvements of foreign residents in multiple areas of city life, including, work, marriage, family, community life and informal political action.
Yoshino Kosaku is studying contact zones in Southeast Asia. His work includes empirical research on the Englishization of higher education in Southeast Asia, and culinary contact zones in Southeast Asia and Tokyo.

External participants:
The list below is tentative but invitees will be established scholars of skilled migration in the Asia Pacific area.
Graeme Hugo (University of Adelaide, Australia) has been conducting research on highly-skilled researchers in Asia and the Pacific.
Binod Khadria (Nehru University, India) is an expert on the migration of highly-skilled Indians, particularly professionals in IT and health sectors.
Guochu Zhang (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China) is an expert on Chinese professionals in science and technology.

We also are exploring the possibility of co-hosting the workshop with the Waseda Migration Research Group, let by Prof. Glenda Roberts, and also hope to include PhD students from the Graduate School of Global Studies if feasible.

b. analytical framework(s) and research methods

As a whole, this is a theory-building project, aimed at developing new conceptions of multiculturalism relevant to the Asian context. Although guided by theoretical formulations from our own disciplines, as a group, we do not have a single analytic or theoretical framework, but rather aim to engage in a plural set of theoretical discussions. Postcolonial theories play a role in some projects. Other projects are guided by theories related to transnational migration. The proposed research project workshop this year focuses on developing theories of multiple-migration, skilled migration and transnationalism.

c. expected outcomes for 2012

This year we plan to host one workshop on skilled migration leading to a joint publication. We also plan to work toward the publications of the events organized by the Research Unit in 2011.

d. relation to external funding

The research efforts of the individual members have been supported by a JSPS grant on “multiple migrations” headed by Prof. Oishi and an intra-university research project on “Asian multiculturalism” including Profs. Farrer and Kosaku. The joint workshop is meant to develop the connections between these separately funded projects.

e. activities and publications of the project in previous years

In 2011, the group organized two workshops. The first is the “Boundary Crossings – Sex and Gender in Contexts” and the second is “3.11 and Japan’s International Communities,” co-organized with the Waseda University Migration Research Group. Publications are planned based on both workshops. For 2010, the group organized two workshops, “Sexual Boundary Crossing and Cultural Contact Zones in East Asia,” the results of which will be published in a winter 2012 special issue of the refereed journal Intersections: Gender and Sexuality in Asia and the Pacific. The other workshop, co-sponsored by Korea University, was titled “Migration and Multicultural Coexistence in East Asia.” Preliminary results were published as a collection of working papers, and more extensive results will be published as edited volume by an academic press (under review). In 2009, the members of the research project participated in organizing and hosting the Sophia Symposium on a “Right to Move? Towards an Ethics of International Migration” On Dec. 12-13, 2009. This Symposium was jointly organized with Sophia University and the Carnegie Council on Ethics in International Affairs. The results were published in an online collection by the online journal Policy Innovations.

f. names of other FLA and non-FLA Sophia faculty involved

Institute Members:
Nana Oishi (organizer), James Farrer , Yoshino Kosaku
External Participants:
Graeme Hugo, Binod Khadria, Guochou Zhang, Glenda Roberts, Gracia Liu-Farrer