Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies

Where is Home?

Place, Belonging and Citizenship in the Asian Century

Workshop

A two-day workshop examining the transformations of place-making and cultural citizenship in the era of Asian influence.

In March 2013, Hong Kong Baptist University, the University of Amsterdam, the International Institute for Asian Studies and the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Western Sydney will hold a two-day workshop examining the transformations of place-making and cultural citizenship in the era of Asian influence. The workshop takes place in Hong Kong at Baptist University. During the first day, leading scholars in the field of cultural studies from different localities in Asia, including Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and South Korea, will explore the notion of place and citizenship in the context of the geopolitical shifts that are taking place today. In the second day of the workshop, PhD students are invited to present and discuss their work with these scholars. For this second day an open call will be published aiming at PhD students globally. 

How to feel at home in a world that seems so much in flux? Where is our home now that a financial crisis is haunting the world? Confronted with the limits of neoliberalism, can we imagine a different home, a different sense of belonging? And given the shifting geopolitical ordering of the world, what role can and does Asia play in such re-imaginations of home? And what does “home” mean when it is constantly under the threat of demolition, as is the case in today’s China? What constitutes a home when you are forced to migrate in search for a better life? These are the questions this workshop engages with.

The speakers:

Ien Ang

Melani Budianta

Chu Stephen Yiu-wai 

Vivian P.Y. Lee

Kim So-young

John Erni

The “rise of Asia” in the changing global context of the 21st century engendered real and imagined shifts in geopolitical power relations. While scholars have attended to the consequences of such shifts in economic and political terms, less attention has been given to the role of social and cultural processes in the “making of Asia” or to the ways in which such world-making constructions affect our sense of place and belonging: How does Asianization affect conceptions and practices of place, belonging and citizenship? A question that may well be formulated in a more banal way:  How does Asianization affect our sense of home?

Questions of place, belonging and citizenship have been high on the intellectual agenda since the early 1990s, yet most of these studies take “the West” as their focus point. The Asian turn may urge us to rethink these notions. With the emergence of what may be termed a Global Modernity, or better: Global Modernities, “Asia” and its citizens are reconfigured in new ways. Although citizenship has always been defined as a legal and political relationship between the subject and the state, recent studies propose a broader concept of citizenship. The dynamics underpinning the way in which globalization affects place-making can be seen as articulating new definitions of “cultural citizenship.” What does it mean to be Asian today, how does one feel at home, in for example, Hong Kong? What does belonging mean in a place like Jakarta? And how can culture – be it art or popular culture – help to foster alternative imaginations of place, home and belonging, beyond the confines of the authoritative discourses of nationalism, capitalism and religion?  

We aim to address these questions through the notion of “home.” What makes us feel at home in a specific locality? How is the sense of home connected to the production of place? And how are such constructions of home implicated in the already mentioned authoritative discourses of nationalism, capitalism and religion / philosophy (for example Islam or Confucianism) – the three interlocking discourses that seem to constitute the current rise of Asia? Can one construct a sense of home that moves beyond these discourses, or that challenges them? Or may a move towards homelessness, one that gestures towards a sense of cosmopolitanism, be a possible tactic to resist Asianization?

Organizers:

Dr. Yiu Fai Chow (Department of Humanities and Creative Writing, Hong Kong Baptist University) yfchow@hkbu.edu.hk

Martine van den Haak (International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden University) m.c.van.den.haak@iias.nl

Prof. Jeroen de Kloet (Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies, University of Amsterdam) b.j.dekloet@uva.nl

Dr. Sonja van Wichelen (Institute for Culture and Society, University of Western Sydney) s.vanwichelen@uws.edu.au

For registration and enquiries, please contact:
Ms. Rebecca Lau (10003770@life.hkbu.edu.hk)

You can download the event poster here.

For the event booklet, please click here

WORKSHOP PROGRAM

Friday 22 March 2013

09.00-09.30

Welcome

09.30-11.00

Session 1 – Place and Placemaking

Professor Chu Stephen Yiu-wai (Hong Kong Baptist university)

Faces of Hong Kong: My City? My Home?

Professor Ien Ang (University of Western Sydney)            

At Home in Asia?

Discussant

Professor Jeroen De Kloet (University of Amsterdam)

11.00-11.30

Break

11.30-13.00

Session 2 – Modes of (Not) Belonging

Professor Melani Budianta (Universitas Indonesia)

Whose Home? Work and Cultural Belonging in a Globalized Asia

Professor John Erni (Lingnan University)

There is No Home: Law, Rights, and being “Included-out”

Discussant

Dr. Sonja van Wichelen (University of Western Sydney)

13.00-14.00

Lunch

14.00-15.30

Session 3 – Mediated Homes

Professor Kim So-young (Korea National University of Arts)

Home is Where the Signal is: Digital Worlding of Home in South Korea

Dr. Vivian Lee (City University of Hong Kong)
Home, Nation, and the World: Hong Kong Cinema in the “Global Now”

Discussant

Dr. Yiu Fai Chow (Hong Kong Baptist University)

15.30-16.00

Break

16.00-17.00

Plenary

 18.30

Dinner

Saturday 23 March 2013

09.00-09.30

Morning Coffee/Tea

09.30-11.00

Session 1 – Place and Placemaking

Cristian Moreh (Northumbria University)

The Asianization of national fantasies in the West: A view from Central Europe

Hiroshi Miyazaki (Ryukoku University)

After the Nation State, Before “Asianization”: Unstable Subjectivity in Post/colonial Okinawa

Discussant-Professor Ien Ang

Kearrin Sims (University of Western Sydney)

Raising Homes for a “Rising Asia”: Development-induced-displacement and Connectivity in Laos

Non Arkarapraesrtkul (Harvard University)

Homing, Housing and Heritage: The ‘Sense of a Place’ and Socio-Political

Conflicts over Urban Space in Shanghai

Discussant

Professor Chu Stephen Yiu-wai

11.00-11.30

Break

11.30-13.00

Session 2 – Modes of (Not) Belonging

Anna Dewaele (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences – EHESS, Paris)

The Building of a Shared Identity and an Urban Citizenship into Indian New Towns under Globalization

Carlos M. Piocos III (University of Hong Kong)

Home Away from Home: Home, Belongingness and Community outside the Domestic Economy among Filipina Migrant workers in Hong Kong

Discussant – Professor John Erni

Leonie Schmidt (University of Amsterdam)

Visions of the Future: Imagining Islamic Modernities in post-New Order Indonesian Visual Culture

Roberto Castillo (Lingnan University)

Feeling at home in the “Chocolate City”: An Exploration of African

Migration to Guangzhou in the Context of Diasporic Cultural Globalisation

Discussant

Professor Melani Budianta

13.00-14.00

Lunch

14.00-15.30

Session 3 – Mediated Homes

Irene Masdeu Torruella (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)

Going back to the Country of Origin: Experiences of Home and Belonging after “Returning” to China

Teo Bee Lan (National University of Singapore)

Memory Lane to Fatherland

Discussant – Dr. Vivian Lee

Mateja Kovacic (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Popular Culture and its Imaginary Worlds in Creating Identities & Places of Belonging: Ghost in The Shell and Possible Futures in Japanese Anime

Huo Shengxia (City University of Hong Kong)

From “Leave Home” to “Return Home”: The Imagination of Home in Tsang Tsui San’s Independent Films

Discussant – Professor Kim So-young

15.30-16.00

Break

16.00-17.00

Plenary and Close

18.30

Dinner

ABSTRACTS KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

Professor CHU Stephen Yiu-Wai (Hong Kong Baptist University)

"Faces of Hong Kong": My City? My Home?

Confronted with the limits of neoliberalism on the one hand, and distressed by integration with the Mainland on the other, can Hong Kong imagine a different home, a different sense of belonging?  This paper approaches this question by examining how the sense of belonging has become a marketing strategy in "Faces of Hong Kong," a campaign inaugurated via the BrandHK platform in 2010.  The campaign is arguably designed by the government to put local people at the heart of the new strategy.  Central to this is the theme "meet the many faces of Hong Kong," as stated by the Financial Secretary, which invites the global audience to get to know more about Hong Kong through the real stories of people.  The campaign, therefore, has been putting its main thrust in a series of promotional videos that feature different Hong Kong citizens.  In this series the most popular video is, not surprisingly, the one featuring Chow Yun-Fat and his story about Kowloon City.  Inspired by Leo Lee's "pedestrian" attempt to "find out what indeed is (or was) there, in Hong Kong's past, that may still shed light on its culture today," this essay endeavors to "re-search" Kowloon City by walking through the district.  It is argued in this essay that Kowloon City is no longer a site for the younger generation of Hong Kong people to write their own success stories.  Despite the fact that one of the projects of this campaign is called "My City, My Home," on a new wave of "disappearance" in Kowloon City "sense of belonging" has become a diminishing concept.

Professor Ien Ang (University of Western Sydney)

At home in Asia? 

To ask the question ‘Where is home?’ is to problematise the spatiality of home. Home is not a taken-for-granted, fixed and inert space, nor a place which is simply there, where we feel naturally at home. To paraphrase Doreen Massey (2005), the space of home is always under construction: it is always in the process of being made, the product of a multiplicity of interrelations. It follows that if the condition of home amounts to our capacity to feel a sense of belonging, then feeling at home can only be a dynamic, ambiguous and uncertain experience, dependent on its changing spatial parameters. ‘Where’ home is matters not just geographically, but also historically, politically and culturally,. In this paper I will use these reflections to discuss the changing (im)possibilities of Australia’s sense of being at home in the world in the context of the so-called rise of Asia. In a recent White Paper entitled Australia in the Asian Century, the Australian government states that for the first time in history, Australia is, geographically speaking, ‘in the right place in the right time’. While a century ago white Australian consciousness was dominated by a sense of ‘tyranny of distance’ - experiencing itself as a far-flung colony of Europe - today it celebrates the promise of ‘advantage of proximity’, ready to benefit from the riches of an increasingly prosperous Asia. Australians, then, are starting to feel at home in Asia, or at least they are admonished to do so. But this new embrace of Asia as home is going to be no more than a chimera if the complexities of space and geography are ignored.

Professor Melani Budianta (Universitas Indonesia)

Whose Home? Work and Cultural Belonging in a Globalized Asia

The dynamic capital flow in Asia in the 2000s has increased transnational mobility. As job seekers move from one Asian country to another to fill in economic opportunities, there is a constant need for settling and resettling in the places of work migration. Drawing upon previous research on returning Indonesian domestic workers and an ongoing research on Indonesian-Philippine mixed families in Singapore, this paper questions, whether the notion of home and sense of belonging is refigured to adjust to this heightened mobility of inter-Asia globalization. The paper starts by examining the “dream house” motivation, arising from the marginalization of rural spaces, which drove unskilled women to do domestic labor in “in-transit” homes in Asian metropolitan cities. The second part of the paper deals with the search for a “third country home” amongst the Indonesian-Philippine mixed families as they followed the capital migration from one Asian city to another. The paper argues that flexibility in creating homes in new places is class and gender based. The paper also contends that while Asian globalization creates the context for the making “in-transit”, and hybrid cultural homes, the redefining of home in today’s globalized Asia still hinges on national politics of Asian states concerning citizenship, economic  protection, and the internal politics of space making.

Professor John Erni (Lingnan University)

There is No Home: Law, Rights, and being “Included-out”

Many in Hong Kong have identified the city as “half-sovereign” or “conditionally sovereign,” as postcoloniality has brought about new ruptures and shifting boundaries of citizenship in economic, cultural, and legal terms.  The work of deciphering questions of belonging is still ongoing, and has in fact intensified in recent times.  Increasingly, who qualifies as a citizen and where their sense of home is have become vital questions for two visible groups: the Chinese Mainlanders whose personal and cultural fortunes have been transformed by opportunities presented by the permeability of the city-border, and the foreign domestic helpers whose right of belonging has been caught in the discrimination of immigration laws.  My argument is that their fates are conjoined by what I call the state of being “included-out,” something augmented by nebulous doctrines of citizenship rights as well as by legalized and informal forms of cultural racialism.  Here, I want to work through two landmark human rights cases concerning the right of abode for people caught in half-sovereignty – the 1999 case of Director of Immigration v. Chong Fung Yuen and the 2012 case of Vallejos v. Commission of Registration.  The two cases are seen as key historical bookends that encapsulate the politics of being “included-out” in Hong Kong: they witness the changing state practices of managing citizenship rights, but they also galvanize new counter-biopolitical imaginations. 

Professor Kim So-young (Korea National University of Arts)

Home is where the Signal is: Digital Worlding of Home in South Korea

The home menu appears when you turn on the computer and click on the web browser. The icon of “Home” brings you to a non-place home dis/located within the global digital formation in flow and flux which is also known as the internet. This paper will put forward questions concerning digital technology and its discursive de/construction of “home”. It also deals with a series of digital non-fiction and fiction filmmaking practices as well as social network services. One such service, “Peter Pan,” aids its subscribers in finding lodging. The site currently has 1,536,174 members (2013.01). They are mostly young people who are known as a desperate and destitute generation, whose average monthly income of 880,000 won (US 833.99) makes even single life difficult, not to mention supporting a family. The generational conflict based on class displays its intense antagonism in the issues of housing and home. “The Asian Century” is sustained by the social technology of the internet as well as the digitally enabled devices such as camera, smart phone and navigation. It is also marked by the massive demolition of the old towns in the cities of Korea, China and elsewhere. In this precarious reassemblage of the social, home is more increasingly neither private nor public. How do we get home -in both the material and epistemological sense?

Dr. Vivian Lee (City University of Hong Kong)

Home, Nation, and the World: Hong Kong Cinema in the “Global Now”

An ex-colonial city crisscrossed by overlapping trajectories of migration and transmigration, Hong Kong is a place where ‘home’ is inseparable from drifts and flows. If ‘home’ construes a sense of locality in the process of self- and collective identity construction, according to Appadurai ‘the production of locality’ is held in tension with the disjunctive forces of the ‘global now’—the financescapes, mediascapes, ideoscapes, ethnoscapes, and technoscapes—so much so that the local had better remain a ‘multiplex interpretive site’. Hamid Naficy also speaks of the multiplex to qualify what he calls an ‘accented cinema’ of exilic and disaporic films where ‘home’ and ‘homeland’ are conceived and refined in contexts of movement and migration. Characterized by ‘multiplicity and fragmentation of all sorts within the filmic text and the filmic process’, multiplex cinema traverses histories, cultures, geographies, and locations. Whether an interpretive site or a new cinematic practice, the multiplex bespeaks the versatility and mobility of the local in the age of media globalization. As a cultural imaginary the local has been a pervasive presence in Hong Kong cinema since the mid-1980s, when the national began to figure more prominently in the film industry’s global vision. In the post-colonial present, Hong Kong cinema is actively seeking its ‘dual citizenship’ in the national and the global, churning out more and more big-budget productions that cater to home and overseas audiences while maintaining steady supply of smaller budget films for niche markets in Asia through a regional distribution network. As pan-Asian filmmaking adventures have increasingly assumed a pan-Chinese character, the lines between regional, global, national, and local are less and less clear, while new fears of the local’s disappearance have surfaced in public discourse in the ‘China century’. This paper traces the trajectories of the local in Hong Kong cinema as it navigates the complex and overlapping topos of the global, regional, and national. At a time when compromises are necessary for survival, the multiplex is likely to be the local’s future home.

ABSTRACTS PHD CANDIDATES

Cristian Moreh (Northumbria University)

The Asianization of national fantasies in the West: A view from Central Europe

A discourse around the rise of “Asia” has accompanied the perceived decline of “Western” power, culture or civilization for more than a century. In the past three decades, however, the economic strengthening of certain Asian centres of commercial and cultural production has given a substantiated impetus to the belief in the coming of an “Asian century”. Asianization, either in the form of Asian transnationalism and cultural presence in Western societies, or on the politico-economic level of reconfiguring the traditional Western “rules of the game”, is an acknowledged phenomenon both in international politics and academia. The meaning of “home” is a central one for both concepts of Asianization: it affects the perceptions and practices of Asian political- and cultural citizens on the global scale, and at the same time requires Western powers to rethink and rediscover their place in the new world order. My paper proposes that there is a close relationship between these micro- and macro phenomena, arguing that visions of home, belonging and place-making can also be observed on the level of nation states, and that these processes often follow micro-sociological patterns under operation at the level of individuals and small groups. The case study discussed in the paper is that of Hungary, and its latest strives to reinvent itself in the “Asian century”. As a former socialist country, Hungary has had cultural relations with China, and the Chinese are the largest non-ethnic immigrant community. As other Central-Eastern European societies, after the fall of communism, Hungary has followed the burdensome path of “return to Europe”. The crisis of the European Union, however, has drastically changed the official selfdefinition of Hungary as a nation: the government and the “conservative” media stress the “Asian ethnic origin” of Hungarians and the decline of “Western, European values”. The advertised “Eastern opening” also goes beyond issues of foreign trade. The paper examines the official “conservative” discourse and the unofficial “extreme-right” discourse, finding a common ground in placing the nation in Asia, rather than Europe. The argument built by the paper is that Asianization creates a new basis for ethnic and cultural self-definition in Hungary, which can also impact on the relations with immigrants. Is Asianization shifting around the classic values of Enlightenment? Is this generalizable, and can it help explain the “right turn” in European politics? Is Hungary in a better position to place itself in the Asian century, though a unique “ethno-historical barter”?

Hiroshi Miyazaki (Ryukoku University)

After the Nation State, Before “Asianization”: Unstable Subjectivity in Post/colonial Okinawa

Most of the Japanese main islanders, even if they voice against the recent plan over US military relocation and reconstruction, seem to keep silence when it comes to a matter of the demand of removing the bases out of Okinawa and into the mainland. A series of massive protests against the plan in Okinawa contain in themselves a "trace" of colonial occupation: the colonial aggression not only as a history but also as a present condition. So do several musical practices. Behind the recently growing discourse of "soft power" and "Japan in Asia", such "traces" can easily be erased and, instead, more comfortable subjectivity of Japan is being restored by way of state sovereignty. How, then, can we imagine another form of subjectivity that does not ignore the colonial "traces" under today’s narrative of "global Asia"? In order to answer that question, this presentation takes four steps. First, it briefly looks through the Japanese colonial discursive practices to make Asia a "home" from Meiji period on. Here, the ways in which Japan Empire justifies its colonization of Asian regions (including Okinawa, of course) in the name of Pan-Asianism are scrutinized. The second step sheds lights on the technique which postwar Japan employed to discursively keep producing the "Japanese" subjectivities. The focus is put on how this subjectification is structured side by side its efforts to erase the colonial "traces". In this context, the making and utilization of a particular representation of "Okinawa" is suggested as inseparable from the production of "stable" Japanese subjectivity. Thirdly, following the second step, I seek to problematize the making of “Okinawa” in the context of music industry. Hand in hand with other cultural production such as TV programs featuring Okinawa islands as “tropical” and Okinawan people as “peace/warm”, many pieces of music/songs have been taken as “easy souvenir”, which are simply consumed for spicing up life in mainland Japan. Here, the emphasis is put on the fact that those pieces, even if they contain some poisonous “traces” in them, tend to be detoxicated. The final section tentatively show the ways in which some music practices bring the “traces” back in the production of subjectivity. Particularly, I introduce some musicians’ voice warning against the strategy of “Okinawa Summit 2000” and “Okinawa Initiative” (2000) which US-Japan alliance tries to utilize for the purpose of its today’s endeavor of military restructuring under the guise of “Asianism”. This leads to the possibility of re-subjectification to which the “traces” come back.

Kearrin Sims (University of Western Sydney)

Raising Homes for a “Rising Asia”: Development-induced-displacement and Connectivity in Laos

It is widely agreed that much of Asia’s rise over the past two decades has been built around the regions increasing interconnectivity. Yet while the tying together of the region has received a wealth of scholarly inquiry, far less attention has been given to the implications of new mobility flows on the millions of people throughout Asia who remain, for the most part, bound to place. As new forms of regional exchange continue to bring Asia together in increasingly complex ways, understandings of what constitutes a sense of ‘home’ require some reconsideration. With a focus on Laos, a land-locked and ‘least developed’ country that has, until recently, remained largely isolated from transnational flows, this paper sets out to explore what it means to be at ‘home’ in a rapidly rising Asia. Drawing on ten months of in-country fieldwork, this paper considers how a growth in Laos’ regional connectivity is leading to a reconfiguration, and in some cases destruction of, what it means to be ‘at home’ in a space of flows. Of specific interest to this paper are two key issues. First is a growing concern that Laos is becoming a ‘corridor country’ and a space of ‘nonplaces’ (Auge 1996; Bauman 2000) to be passed through, but not to dwell. Second is the widespread displacement and resettlement of local communities in the name of ‘development’. As infrastructure upgrades continue to bring new forms of transnational exchange into Laos, people’s homes are being destroyed and local communities are being broken apart by resettlement programs that show little consideration to the social and cultural relationships, the sense of belonging, or the affinity to particular landscapes that make up a sense of ‘home’. Place is being reconfigured by space, the fixed is becoming increasingly fluid, and those not able to move along regional networks are finding themselves increasingly marginalized in order to make way for connectivity. In the wake of these transformations of place-making, it is important to consider what it means to be ‘at home’ in Laos today. Is there a place for being at home in a space of flows, networks and nodes? Who is it that seeks a sense of home in these ‘landscapes of connectivity’? And how can ‘home’ be found in such places? These are the questions this paper sets out to address.

Non Arkarapraesrtkul (Harvard University)

Homing, Housing and Heritage: The ‘Sense of a Place’ and Socio-Political Conflicts over Urban Space in Shanghai

The local government of Shanghai has drawn urban planning inspiration from cities such as New York, London, and Tokyo, which have achieved architectural distinction as ‘global cities’ by combining modern high-rise and heritage buildings – a mixture of modernity and high culture. City branding is a major part of Shanghai’s urban development program, and the preservation of historic monuments is seen as integral to this emerging brand. The underlying rationale is to protect “architectural artifacts” that the local government considers appropriate for a city with global ambitions. The lingering question, however, is, what about the social life behind these urban façades? The majority of these architectural artifacts in Shanghai are traditional alleyway houses, called lilong (li meaning “neighborhood”, and long meaning “lanes”). These lanes were the dominant physical form of neighborhoods in which almost all Shanghai residents lived before the economic reforms of the early 1980s. Historians, journalists, and architects often share the common attitude that lilong neighborhoods are ‘historically important’ and, therefore, must be preserved. While many policy-makers initially thought that historical preservation would benefit the local residents, the residents themselves have largely opposed preservation on the grounds that it does not constitute any long-term plan for the community let alone protect tenants from eviction, usually by means of gentrification and the use of eminent domain. The notion of ‘significant architectural heritage’ becomes a political tool in Shanghai. This preservation process overlooks many problems, ranging from macro-planning problems such as inadequate housing units for the working class and migrants, to urban infrastructural issues such as mounting spatial congestion, as well as safety and health hazards. Hence, many residents are living in a perpetual state of uncertainty, in constant fear of eviction, and in a seemingly unending process of negotiation with various government agents to receive compensation for the foreseeable loss of their homes. To maintain their right to dwell in the houses, the local residents have adopted survival, monitoring, and negotiating technique, including forming a neighborhood association, initiating campaigns to inform the public about the importance of their neighborhoods, and utilizing the image of a successful gentrified neighborhood in order to seem supportive of the state’s “global city” discourse. Residents express their resistance by various means, utilizing all available channels of information. I examine the change in the urban landscape of Shanghai from the perspective of residents in the lilong community who employ various strategies of adaption, negotiation and self-governance.

Anna Dewaele (School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences – EHESS, Paris)

The Building of a Shared Identity and an Urban Citizenship into Indian New Towns under Globalization

Several new cities have been developed in the 1970s and the 1980s in the periphery of the major metropolitan cities in India in order to reduce the pressures on the central urban agglomerations. They have then appeared as good residential opportunities for some middle class families who decided to settle there. However those new towns have been characterised by some urban and economic transformations in the 1990s and the 2000s in consequence of the liberalization of the Indian economy. Those new towns have then appeared as an opportunity for the setting up of national and international corporate businesses and the settlement of their employees. From modern residential places planned for the “common man”, those new towns have progressively become some of the centres and the windows of the Indian globalization and are now seen as top residential destinations for the upper middle class. In this context of urban and social transformations, we can wonder how those new spaces impact the identity of the residents and their feeling of belonging to a community. Multiple actors have developed those new towns: public authorities, private developers, corporates that chose to set up in those new urban spaces and residents. The key hypothesis of this PhD research is that the residents are eventually the central players of this process of urban foundation. They give an identity to the new towns by their practices and their representations. There are three stages regarding the impact of the residents on those new towns. First, they transform the urban landscape and organization at different levels by their daily practices but also by their expectations regarding those new towns. We hence observe physical but also symbolical changes of those new urban spaces into homes. Secondly, the residents are transforming those new towns by their involvement at the different levels of the urban governance. This participation has an important impact on the development of a singular social and cultural citizenship. Thirdly, the residents are producing images and views about their towns and so they design new urban representations. By those processes, they are building a singular feeling of belonging and identity. This PhD research is based on a comparative study of three Indian new towns: Gurgaon near Delhi, Salt Lake near Kolkata and Navi Mumbai near Mumbai. Because the fieldworks are still in progress, this talk will be mainly based on the case studies of Gurgaon and Salt Lake. 

Carlos M. Piocos III (University of Hong Kong)

Home/Away from Home: Home, Belongingness and Community outside the Domestic Economy among Filipina Migrant workers in Hong Kong

Tourists walking into Central, Hong Kong for a high end shopping on a Sunday will surely be shocked by the mass of foreign migrant workers peppering the streets in front of boutique shops or on long walkways connecting posh malls and hotels; idly sitting in groups on improvised blankets or DIY low-lying fences made of box cartons they call apartments; chatting loudly either with other friends or logged on in cyberspace talking to their relatives back home through their laptops; and practicing their choreographed dances in public. This is the infamous Sunday day-off spree of Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong. Neferti Tadiar rereads this day-off idling in public spaces as a creative way of producing and reproducing time outside the dynamics of their work time and workplace in the global domestic economy. For Tadiar, this idling or this “waste of time” is in itself a production of time reinscribed outside the economic proper: where “Filipina labor reproduces itself and its new social relations not only within the space of domestic work, but also in spaces outside of home” and where the “time of waste can be viewed as a time of recovery and restoration… of (life) times lost in the production of time for others.” While Tadiar deconstructs notions of time outside the late globalized labor economy and demonstrates how Filipina migrant workers reclaim their own time out of wasting it, I would want to focus on the use of space and illustrate in this paper how they creatively carve and rename their own place in this idling; and in the process not only challenge ideas of space grounded in home/away from home, private/public and domestic/economic binaries but also restructures these very spaces as sites of community-building and political practice. I will analyze the migrant domestic helpers’ use of public spaces through Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive categories of the domestic, community and hospitality. Following Derrida’s idea of domestic as in itself a space of the economic, I will differentiate the conception of home versus the space of the domestic economy for Filipina migrant workers, and how certain ideas of belongingness grounded on private/public spheres are restructured. From these, I will analyze how the very practice of making communities in public touches on several political and ethical issues of community as co-immunity (as both inclusionary and exclusionary ways of belongingness), and how the Filipina migrant worker’s reclaiming of a home in the public space of community opens up to the political promise of reenvisioning migrant policies vis-a-vis the aporia of hospitality. In this paper, I will probe how the Filipina migrant workers’ use of the public place have created an alternative notion of home away from the sphere of the Domestic order, how belongingness has shifted from the private to the public, and how these mobile and ambulant communities can be seen as concrete ways of making community where new social relations and political practices are reimagined and reinscribed. 

Irene Masdeu Torruella (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)

Going back to the Country of Origin: Experiences of Home and Belonging after “Returning” to China

In the last few years, young Chinese migrants in Spain have shown a significant trend towards return migration due to both the financial crisis in Europe and the economic prosperity in the PR China. However these movements back to China are not seen as a permanent relocation neither as the end of the migrants’ journey, and therefore do not fit the traditional concept of return migration and its connotation of completion. This paper explores how transnational movements of people, objects, symbols and images have transformed concepts and experiences of home and belonging. While the activities that migrants undertake in order to maintain connections with their countries of origin have been widely studied, the sustained transnational practices and links with the country of migration after return, and the implications of these transnational ties in their sense of belonging have not been so extensively researched yet. Based on ethnographic research with migrants going back to China from Spain, this paper aims to analyze the implications of transnational practices in the homemaking processes and the multiple sense of belonging after return. Concretely, the paper focuses on the experiences of first migrants’ generation born in Qingtian returning to China with important socio-cultural capital accumulated in Spain. Qingtian is a rural county in Southeast Zhejiang province with a strong migrant culture. While some of the migrants are continuing the “returnee business” activity that is already socially institutionalized in Qingtian, others decide to settle down in larger cities of Zhejiang province, such as Hangzhou, or in Shanghai, thereby further increasing the places susceptible to become home. First, the paper explores the logic, characteristics and relationships between return migration and transnational ties of Qingtianese migrants that have lived half of their lives in Spain and are coming back to the country where they grew up in order to “skip the crisis” or to find better economic and professional prospects. Secondly, we analyze the implications of these dynamic transnational processes in the ways that migrants conceive and experience home in different localities, both in China and Spain, at the same time. In this sense, the flexible and multilayered concept of home, including its normative-ideological, pragmatic, social and cultural levels are analyzed. Finally, the paper brings together the aforementioned two aspects - transnationalism and return migration practices - in order to explore the complexity and dynamism of identity, belonging, and home-making processes among Qingtianese people engaged in international migration.

Roberto Castillo (Lingnan University)

Feeling at home in the “Chocolate City”: An Exploration of African Migration to Guangzhou in the Context of Diasporic Cultural Globalisation

The transformations brought about by economic re-articulations resulting from the ‘rise of Asia’ have had implications in a myriad of places, practices, and imaginations. Dazzling increases in economic investments and the political rapprochement between several Asian and African states illustrate the magnitude of recent geopolitical shifts. While great effort has been directed at analysing Asia-Africa economic and political ties, scant attention has been paid to the ways is which Asia’s re-emergence has shifted how people in Africa might think about Asia. Over the last two decades, the Asian region has been conflated with opportunities for entrepreneurship and wealth generation – a shift in imagination that has led countless Africans to opt for Asian destinations in their trading and migration strategies. This paper examines the conditions for movement and migration from Africa towards China within the context of the ‘era of Asian influence’. I focus on place-making practices, structures of belonging, and strategies for settlement and citizenship associated with the African population in Guangzhou. Based on my fieldwork, I argue that the continued and recurrent presence of African transnational traders and migrants has resulted in the unintended emergence of ‘support networks’ in the city. These networks facilitate the mobility (arrival, departure, return and settlement) of individuals and give rise to the organisation of communities and the emergence of identities that structure (sometimes transient) feelings of ‘at-homeness’ and belonging. This paper seeks to broaden the discussion in this workshop by posing questions such as: How does one feel at home in Asia when s/he is not ‘Asian’? How are ‘belonging’ and ‘home’ understood/structured when you maintain multiple simultaneous interpersonal net works in several countries? Is there space for opening up imaginations and legislations for including Africans (and Sino-Africans) in Asian debates about ‘cultural citizenship’ and ‘global modernities’? To answer these questions, I will draw attention to the diversity of those Africans assembling in Guangzhou; then describe they ways in which they have adapted to transnational modes of living, and the strategies they utilise to reproduce structures of belonging and solidarity.

Although the presence of Africans in China might be conside red by some as a non-Asian issue, the intermingling of Africans and Chinese nurtures ‘alternative imaginations’ of self, place, home, and belonging that directly challenge extant discourses on Asian identity, race, ethnicity, nationalism and citizenship; and, at the same time, provide an exciting opportunity to discuss not only who can feel but also how is it to feel at home in 21st century Asia.

Leonie Schmidt (University of Amsterdam)

Visions of the Future: Imagining Islamic Modernities in post-New Order Indonesian Visual Culture

Muslim communities worldwide are confronted with the question what it means to be ‘modern’ and ‘Islamic’. Media and visual culture provide perfect tools to publicly fantasize Islamic modernities. Indonesia is home to the world’s largest Muslim population and in the midst of modernization and Islamization. Indonesian (Islamic) visual culture both displays and constructs Islamic modernities, while projecting global modern urban Islamic futures in a post 9/11world. This is relatively recent, as expressions of religion in visual culture were repressed during the Suharto regime (1965-1998). Now, in the post-Suharto era (1998-), Indonesia’s large Muslim community takes advantage of the newly liberated public sphere to participate in public debates related to the alleged path of modernity, and to (re-)imagine what/where home is - or rather what home should be like. It is precisely at this juncture – where flows of the modern and the Islamic intersect – that this study explores how post-Suharto visual culture has become a key site for Indonesian Muslims to construct, imagine, negotiate and contest their own modern Islamic (future) trajectories and their place in a post 9/11 world. Through analyzing a variety of (visual) cultural products and practices, (e.g. Islamic rock music, art, cinema, self-help books, urban spaces and shopping malls),this study explores how contemporary Indonesia’s struggle over what/where ‘home’ is and what it should look like, is constantly being reworked in response to the shifting currents of history, (geo)politics, culture and social life. Indonesia’s visual experiments with, and visions of a modern Islamic future could only prove to be relevant to other Muslim majority societies that find themselves caught in processes of modernization, but also to Muslim minority societies, like for instance the Netherlands, in which Muslims are actively looking for a way to live in harmony with their faith while participating in an assumed modern society.

Teo Bee Lan (National University of Singapore)

Memory Lane to Fatherland

My paper is a discussion of how a sense of home is evoked as a locality in two Singaporean poets' memorialization of their late father. I will examine how some of the latest poems penned by Boey Kim Cheng and Edwin Thumboo function as time capsules to enable them to travel in memory lane to a past where a father figure marked the pivotal beginning of a familial chronicle that forms part of the genesis of modern-day Singapore. Their lyrical musing of familial ties is inextricably associated with Singapore’s history of colonialism, war and early nation-building days. Playing out in a once-familiar environment for both poets are tableaus of captured intimacy with their kin from the previous generation, during a time when people and place used to make them feel at home. Although the passage from then to now is but the space of a few decades, the same people and place have become a vanished figment of a bygone era in the consciousness of the younger generation in contemporary Singapore. In short, I want to discuss how these two Singaporean poets’ aesthetic practice helps create a sort of historical archive of Singapore in yesteryears while lending a voice for an imperative of cultural memory. I argue that their exploration of the sense of displacement and a desire for rootedness promotes the importance of historical continuity and communal interconnectedness. What results in this process is, I believe, a possibly more empowering postcoloniality to withstand the current tide of hyper-connectivity and restless flux. I also posit that the verse that charts the route to the metaphorical fatherland actually positions them as part of the Asian community where they can adopt the posture of a new cultural citizen embracing what many believe is presently, the Asian Century.

Mateja Kovacic (Hong Kong Baptist University)

Popular Culture and its Imaginary Worlds in Creating Identities & Places of Belonging: Ghost in The Shell and Possible Futures in Japanese Anime

The world is in constant change, transforming due to its many forces, of which the force of (cultural) globalization has caught our attention the most over the past ten years. Since our world is being trapped (or blessed?) by constant flux, our imaginary worlds are being re-invented to shape and reflect our thoughts and imageries of the world we live in as well as the world we will live in. Japanese animation, with its variety of genres and as a top-export cultural product of Japan, often speaks of our new worlds in most imaginative ways. Therefore I will use one of the cult representatives of a relevant anime genre to show how popular culture reflects and affects the transformations of place-making. Ghost in the Shell, made by Mamoru Oshii will make a good tool for this, for it offers us some interesting choices and perspectives of the future: i.e. new life-forms such as cyborgs will make our new fellow citizens which might say that, if it's difficult for us to trace our identities today, what then shall become of our identities when most humans will no longer be 'only' humans and we will be required to define what both human and non-human (but still humane) beings are? Another perspective is that of landscapes: Hong Kong is taken as an example of a futuristic city in the anime. Author of this paper asks herself: what kind of city, culturally and socially speaking, this new city is and whether it is possible for it, even despite shifting boundaries, radical cultural exchanges and losing/ redifining/ transforming our identities, to still remain our home; our anchorage - in other words – to remain point of reference of who we are and where we belong.

In search of our shifting identities, popular culture plays its significant role by incorporating our thoughts and imageries and transfering them to a global level where the most diverse identities engage in an intercourse in order to facilitate one's own search for an identity and a place of belonging. This becomes most apparent in visual media, often dispersed from different locale in a quest to find a universal language for different individuals to share. Therefore, author of this paper will use Japanese animation as a medium to show how future landscapes are being created, making some suggestions on what kind of home we will share in the future and raising questions of who would be the one 'belonging' and who would be an outsider to this new home; and whether we will be required to change our notions of 'human being' so that we can accept what the future brings. 

HUO Shengxia (City University of Hong Kong)

From “Leave Home” to “Return Home”: The Imagination of Home in Tsang Tsui San’s Independent Films

The young Hong Kong filmmaker Tsang Tsui San has directed two independent features by now: Lovers on the Road (2008) and Big Blue Lake (2011). The former was a candidate film for the 32nd Hong Kong International Film Festival and the latter helped Tsang win the Best New Director in the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards. In the beginning of the two films, both of the protagonists got lost and were faced with a “dilemma” in life. However, they chose two different ways to get out of their dilemmas. In lovers on the Road, the character felt trapped at home and chose to “leave home”. When she travelled in different cities of Mainland China, she got to know many persons who also left their own homelands. Dialogues with them helped the character get a better understanding of her own identity. Home here is a limitation for the protagonist and Tsang suggests that it is possible to reconstruct a new utopia with others after breaking through this limitation. In Big Blue Lake, however, the character chose to “return home”. Home here not only means a geographic place, a small village in Hong Kong; but also refers to individual memories about home, including memories about youth, love and intimate relationships in community. Home becomes a spiritual resource to reflect on the roots of one’s identity. To some extent, protagonists’ complex choices between leaving home and returning home could be seen as a metaphor of today’s Hong Kong which lies in the tension between globalism and localism. And Tsang’s strategy—going out and dialoguing with others, while respecting the alternative culture and forgotten history in the local at the same time—provides an alternative reflection, if not a transcendence, on the conflict between globalism and localism.