Investment migration & social reproduction: The case of recent patterns of migration from China

In recent years, global migrations and the proliferation of new citizenship regimes have together produced increasingly complex categories of national belonging. Nonetheless, countries still overwhelmingly assign citizenship at birth based on descent or territory. This contradiction meant that the persistence of birthright citizenship has given rise to new citizenship strategies based on transnational reproductive geographies. This seminar traces how this contradiction produces a particular form of reproductive geography known as “birth tourism,” where pregnant women travel abroad to give birth in order to secure foreign citizenship for their newborns. In particular, Chinese and Taiwanese women have travelled to places like Southern California to deliver their babies, and their presence has often drawn the ire of US residents and politicians. This seminar introduces some empirics about Chinese birth tourism from ethnographic fieldwork and media analysis of recent controversies. It will explore regional contexts and practices in China and Taiwan that have encouraged birth tourism and reflect on how they have impacted families’ cosmopolitan strategies and aspirations related to foreign citizenship.