Dr. Elena Barabantseva

Senior Lecturer, School of Social ScienceVersion 2

University of Manchester, UK

Email: e.v.barabantseva@manchester.ac.uk

Website: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/e.v.barabantseva/


I am Senior Lecturer in Chinese International Relations at the University of Manchester (UK). Native of Minsk (Belarus), I graduated from the Belarusian State University in 2000. I continued with postgraduate education in the UK, completing my PhD in International Relations in 2006 at the University of Manchester. My research interests include Chinese identity politics, the interaction between development and nationalism, borders, filmmaking for research, and post-structuralist international relations theories. I am the author of De-Centering China: Overseas Chinese, Ethnic Minorities, and Nationalism (Routledge, 2010), and a number of articles published in the Journal of Contemporary China, Modern China, Critical Asian Studies, Alternatives, the Millennium, International Political Sociology and other journals.

I am the principal investigator of the ‘Marriage Migration along China’s borders’ sub-project (2015-2018) which I am working on together with Caroline Grillot. I started developing this project through a collaborative work with colleagues in the PRC and Taiwan as the coordinator of the AHRC-funded ‘Borders of Migration’ research network (2012-14). The papers resulting from the research network’s workshop ‘Governing Marriage Migration: Perspectives from Mainland China and Taiwan’ (Tunghai University, January 2014) were published as a special issue of Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review 4(2) in 2015.

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

2015, ‘Messengers from the US-Chinese Past : Review essay’. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 75.2 : 441-450.

2015, ‘When borders lie within: ethnic marriages and security on the Sino-Vietnamese border’, International Political Sociology 9: 352-368.

2015, (co-authored with Andy Lawrence) ‘Encountering vulnerabilities through “filmmaking for fieldwork”’, the Millennium: Journal of International Studies 43(3): 911-930.

2015, ‘From ‘Customary’ to ‘Illegal’ : Yao Ethnic Mariages on the Sino-Vietnamese border’, Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review, co-edited special issue on ‘Governing Marriage Migration to China and Vietnam’, issue 15, June 2015, https://cross-currents.berkeley.edu/e-journal/issue-15.

2016, ‘Seeing beyond an ‘ethnic enclave’: time/space of Manchester Chinatown’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, online first, http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/muhK8Wv6wXCHTIfb8wEC/full

2019, ‘Losing Self to Discover National Citizenship: Contestations over Parental Rights among the post-Soviet Foreign Wives in China’, Geopolitics, DOI: 10.1080/14650045.2019.1620208

2019, (co-authored with Caroline Grillot) ‘Representations and Regulations of Marriage Migration from Russia and Vietnam in the People’s Republic of China’, The Journal of Asian Studies, 78(2), 285-308. doi:10.1017/S002191181900010X

Recent Activities

‘Transcultural lives of the Chinese-Russian families in 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 Caroline Grillot), 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 Caroline Grillot), 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 Caroline Grillot), East Asia and Tomorrow’s Anthropology, Society for East Asian Anthropology & American Anthropological Association, Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, June 2016