Call for Papers: CHERN Workshop “Technology-Migration Interlinkages of Chinese Mobilities in Europe”

See the call & apply: China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) working group 5 (Labour and Migration) Workshop and Working Group Meeting
Date: 7–8 September 2023, Amsterdam

Building on calls to pay more attention to the material side of migration (e.g. Basu and Coleman 2008; Vilar Rosales 2018; Tazzioli 2023; Yi-Neumann et al. 2022), including in Chinese contexts (Wang, Zheng, and Gao 2020), this workshop draws attention to technologies as one specific material dimension. In particular, this workshop explores the still little-understood, complex interlinkages of technology and migration in relation to China in Europe. Hereby, technology is broadly understood to comprise “social-material networks or systems, including sets of techniques and equipment, but also trained personnel, raw materials, ideas and institutions […] generating material goods and social relationships […]” (Bray 2008, 320–21). In this sense, technologies play a key role in migration. Analogue technologies like maps, boats, trains, letters, and monetary remittances have long been central to migration (e.g. Chu 2010). More recently, digital technologies such as smartphones and the Internet have shaped migration in new ways (e.g. Sun and Yu 2022), including during the Covid-19 pandemic (Xiang 2022). At the same time, they have also enhanced our methodological toolkits for studying migration. Looking at both non-digital and digital technologies, this workshop asks how migration and migrants are shaped by technologies and how migrants employ and shape technologies.

The workshop invites papers that explores this theme, such as – but not restricted to – the following questions regarding China in Europe:

  • How do technologies such as passports, means of transportation, financial infrastructures, as well as platforms for job searches, studying abroad, immigration and dating enable migration?
  • How do technologies such as border fences, visas and surveillance cameras inhibit, transform or postpone migration?
  • How do technologies like computers, mobile phones and internet networks spur the imaginations and plans of future migrants?
  • How do remote working technologies facilitate “virtual migration” (Aneesh 2006), whereby people stay in their places of origin, but work remotely for companies based in other countries around the world?
  • How do migrants and their friends, relatives and colleagues who stay in China use technologies like WeChat and Alipay to stay connected and maintain social relationships?
  • How are technologies embodied in migrants, and how do they connect migrants and non-migrants, e.g. in the form of shared knowledge and techniques?
  • How do technologies shape migrants’ bodies, e.g. when consulting online doctors?
  • How do technologies and related knowledge and skills migrate alongside migrants,e.g. in view of knowledge migration and talent recruitment?

Please submit your abstract (max. 250 words) as well as a short biographical note, including your name and affiliation, by 30 April 2023 to Lena Kaufmann (

This interdisciplinary workshop is held on behalf of the Working Group 5 Labour and Migration of the COST Action CA18215 China in Europe Research Network (CHERN) and is open to all CHERN members. It will be organised in conjunction with the CHERN Joint Working Group Conference at the University of Amsterdam, on 7–8 September 2023. Funding of travel costs is available for workshop participants whose papers have been selected for presentation and who are eligible for reimbursement according to the e-COST criteria. For any questions regarding the eligibility of CHERN membership and reimbursement, please contact Alexandra Filius (


Aneesh, A. 2006. Virtual Migration: The Programming of Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Basu, Paul, and Simon Coleman. 2008. “Introduction: Migrant Worlds, Material Cultures.” Mobilities 3 (3): 313–30.

Bray, Francesca. 2008. “Science, Technique, Technology: Passages between Matter and Knowledge in Imperial Chinese Agriculture.” The British Journal for the History of Science 41 (3): 319–44.

Chu, Julie Y. 2010. Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Sun, Wanning, and Haiqing Yu. 2022. WeChat and the Chinese Diaspora: Digital Transnationalism in the Era of China’s Rise. London: Routledge.

Tazzioli, Martina. 2023. “Counter-Mapping the Techno-Hype in Migration Research.” Mobilities 0 (0): 1–16.

Vilar Rosales, Marta. 2018. “Framing Movement Experiences: Migration, Materiality and Everyday Life.” Transitions: Journal of Transient Migration 2 (1): 27–41.

Wang, Cangbai, Victor Zheng, and Hao Gao. 2020. “Materialities and Corridors: The Chinese Diaspora and Connected Societies.” Asian and Pacific Migration Journal 29 (2): 133– 38.

Xiang, Biao. 2022. “Remote Work, Social Inequality and the Redistribution of Mobility.” International Migration 60 (6): 280–82.

Yi-Neumann, Friedemann, Andrea Lauser, Antonie Fuhse, and Peter J. Bräunlein, eds. 2022. Material Culture and (Forced) Migration: Materializing the Transient. London: UCL Press.

Managing editor: Lisa (Zhiyun Bian)

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