Borders and Boundaries

Asia is the largest sender and receiver of all migrants in the world today (United Nations 2017). The movement across physical borders inevitably entails the navigation of new relationships and a (re)negotiation of one’s identities, including gender and sexual ones. While migration scholars have explored the intersection of mobility with gender and sexuality (such as studies on mail-order brides and female domestic workers), the intersection of geographical border-crossing with other forms of border-crossing remain underexplored. For instance, what issues arise when the movement across geographic boundaries intersect with the movement across gender borders as in the case of trans people seeking bodily modification surgeries outside of their place of residence? 

“Borders and boundaries” can also be understood beyond geographical terms, in the sense of boundaries of silence, as well as borders of conventional behavior. How have the global #MeToo movement, or the increasing recognition of same-sex marriages in the Asia-Pacific region in recent years challenged the borders of heteronormativity and inspired those who have lived invisibilized lives to transgress the boundaries of silence? 

The Borders and Boundaries stream will facilitate conversations across disciplines and areas, and promote comparative and collaborative research to produce new knowledges on gender/sexual histories, norms, practices and configurations that pay attention not only to differences, but also to similarities across national boundaries.

Facilitators: YUEN Shu Min (Japanese Studies) and Tracey Skelton (Geography)