Divergent Trajectories of China’s Email-Order Brides (ONLINE ONLY)

Online only.

Monica Liu’s work explores the life histories and decision-making processes of Chinese women who seek marriages with Western men. The majority of these women is middle-aged (above 40), divorced, and come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. How do emerging inequalities brought on by China’s transition from state socialism toward a global market economy shape their desires to seek out migration via marriage? Liu’s work is set against the backdrop of China’s economic ascendance on the world stage, alongside a relative decline of the West. Liu compares how Chinese women from diverse class backgrounds envision a relatively homogenous group of men: Western men in agriculture, manufacturing, and small business sectors who feel they have been left behind by globalization. Through analyzing modest-earning Western men’s declining appeal to middle and upper-middle class Chinese women, my work sheds light on China’s changing relationship with the global north.

Monica Liu received her PhD in sociology from the University of California – San Diego and she is currently Assistant Professor of Justice and Society Studies at the University of St Thomas in Minnesota.