Dr. Caroline Grillot

Post-Doctoral ResearcherVersion 2

University of Manchester, UK

Email: carolinegrillot@hotmail.com

Webpage: https://manchester.academia.edu/CarolineGrillot


Caroline Grillot is a social anthropologist (Paris X-Nanterre University) and a sinologist (INALCO). She spent twelve years in China, studying in Shandong University (1994-95) and Sichuan University (1998-2000) with the support of the French Foreign and European Affairs, and working in various fields. She has been a translator in the literature and artistic fields, and also assisted the UNESCO Beijing office at implementing programs in social sciences. Her researches have mainly focused on social margins in China and Southeast Asia. She has obtained a joined Ph.D. in social anthropology at Macquarie University (Australia) and the Free University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) under the supervisions of Professor Lisa Wynn and Professor Pál Nyíri (2013). Her research topic concerned cross-border marriages between Vietnamese women and Chinese men in borderlands, a topic on which she had previously published a book (Volées, Envolées, Convolées… 2010). She has recently achieved a research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany) where she conducted research on traders’ relationships in the Sino-Vietnamese borderlands. She is now updating her earlier findings on cross-border marriages with a comparative approach and additional fieldwork in collaboration with Elena Barabantseva at the University of Manchester in order to publish her manuscript.

Research Project

The “Marriage Migration along China’s borders” project investigates marriage practices in the contexts of the Sino-Russian and Sino-Vietnamese borders. It aims to understand the changing dynamics of marital migration from Russia and Vietnam, as well as wider discourses and practices relating to it.

We adopt an ethnographically-grounded perspective attentive to the historical trends, and changing socio-political and cultural contexts in which the negotiations of the positions of the people crossing the political, familial, social, and cultural boundaries take place. We pay attention to the changing geopolitical realities, national policies, legislation, public representations and discourses, and the everyday experiences of the involved bi-national families living in China (couples, children, in-laws). We pair the concepts of marriage and migration and their negotiated meanings to understand how the national, legal, racial, gender, and social norms are formulated and negotiated in contemporary China.

Caroline Grillot has been researching the Sino-Vietnamese border encounters for nearly 10 years, and in summer 2016 conducted ethnographic fieldwork looking at Vietnamese marriage migration in inland China (Jiangxi & Hunan). Elena Barabantseva started researching the issues of marriage migration of Russian women to China in June 2015. She visited several border towns and Beijing to collect materials for this project in November 2015 and summer 2016.

Selected Publications

2016. ‘Trust Facilitates Business, but May also Ruin It’: The Hazardous Facets of Sino-Vietnamese Border Trade’, Asian Anthropology 15 (2), p. 169-85.

2016 (with Zhang Juan). ‘Ambivalent Encounters. Business and the Sex markets at the China-Vietnam Borderland’, in Pál Nyíri and Danielle Tan (eds), How Chinese Engagements are Changing Southeast Asia. People, Money, Ideas, and their Effects, Seattle, University of Washington Press, p. 97-115.

2016. ‘Lives in Limbo: Unsuccessful marriages in Sino-Vietnamese borderlands’ in Sari K. Ishii (ed.), Marriage Migration in Asia: Emerging Minorities at the Frontiers of Nation-States, Singapour, National University of Singapore Press et Kyoto, Kyoto University Press, p. 153-174.

2015.‘The Challenging integration of Sino-Vietnamese marriages in Mainland Chinese borderlands’, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, special issue ‘Governing Marriage Migrations: Perspectives from Mainland China and Taiwan Rationale’, 4 (2), p. 439-467.

Recent Activities


2016.‘Coping with isolation: reflections on Vietnamese brides networking in rural China’, Dynamic Borderlands: Livelihoods, Communities and Flows, 5th Conference of the Asian Borderlands Research Network, Kathmandou, Social Science Baha, December.

2016.‘Marriage migration infrastructure on the Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Russian borders’ (with Elena Barabantseva), Joint East Asia Studies Conference, London, SOAS, University of London, September.

2016.‘Changing infrastructures of marriage migration along China’s borders with Russia and Vietnam’ (with Elena Barabantseva), Asia in Motion – Horizons of Hope, AAS-in-Asia 2016, Kyoto, Doshisha University, June.

2016.‘Marriage migration infrastructure on the Sino-Vietnamese and Sino-Russian borders’ (with Elena Barabantseva), East Asia and Tomorrow’s Anthropology, Society for East Asian Anthropology & American Anthropological Association, Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, June.

2016.‘The broker’s case: gender issue or social hierarchy? Reflections on women’s exploitation in South East Asia’, International Workshop: The Gender Dimension of Human Trafficking, Cologne, University of Cologne, January.