About the lecture:
Making Love and Borders
In the 2000s, with the tightening of borders in North America and Europe, Hong Kong became a destination for asylum-seekers from the African continent. Since then, many of these forcibly displaced persons have been stuck in Hong Kong for over a decade, unrecognized as refugees and unable to return home, prohibited from working, studying, or even volunteering. In the 2010s, intimate relationships and marriages between asylum-seeking men and local women became increasingly common. Based on long-term ethnographic research on intimate relationships between asylum-seeking men and local women in Hong Kong, this talk demonstrates first and foremost that asylum-seekers are intimate subjects, and secondly, that asylum-seekers’ love stories are simultaneously stories of sovereignty and borders. How do love and borders co-constitute each other? How is the desire to love intertwined with the arts of governance? This presentation examines how intimate relationships and frontier practices are entangled in everyday life, and how they could be mutually constitutive over time.
About Professor Cheng:
Sealing Cheng is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research is focused on sexuality with reference to sex work, human trafficking, women’s activism, and policy-making. Her book, On the Move for Love: Migrant Entertainers and the U.S. Military in South Korea (University of Pennsylvania Press 2010) received the Distinguished Book Award of the Sexualities Section of the American Sociological Association in 2012. Her publications have appeared in Journal of Migration Studies, Feminist Theory, Current Anthropology etc. She is currently working on her manuscript on the meanings of intimacy for asylum-seekers in Hong Kong.