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Research

About the Study

In the context of international migration, "transnationalism" is defined as "the processes by which immigrants forge and sustain multi-stranded social relations that link together their societies of origin and settlement" (Basch, Schiller and Blanc 1994, 6). Migrants make transborder connections to their home countries, facilitated by access to information and communication technologies (ICTs). Their dual engagements with sending and receiving countries or simultaneous embeddedness in more than one society is also viewed as a defining characteristic of transnationalism (Levitt and Jaworsky 2007; Tsuda 2012).

                Although the notion of transnationalism has been widely explored in immigration studies since the 1990s, its implications in health research, and specifically research on HIV risk, in the context of immigration, have been largely overlooked. Most studies have examined HIV risk faced by immigrants in their host countries. In doing so, they ignore the simultaneous influence of the home country context (not limited to its culture) on these immigrants' risk perceptions, risk exposure, and risk responses. These perceptions of risk, in turn, have important implications for access to and practices for HIV prevention.

                Motivated by the dearth of scholarly and professional knowledge about answers to such questions, a multi-disciplinary research team – consisting of researchers from six universities and research institutes in three countries (Canada, China, and France) – carried out a CIHR-funded multi-sited empirical study (2011-2016), titled “Living in ‘Transnational Spaces’: Gendered Vulnerability to HIV of Chinese Immigrants in a Transitional Context and the Implications for Future Interventions”. The project data were collected through qualitative, individual, in-depth interviews with 61 Chinese international migrants (between China and Canada) and 26 key informants from HIV-related civil society organizations and public agencies at four study sites (Toronto, Vancouver, Beijing, and Shanghai) in Canada and China.

                In 2017 the team published a symposium on Transnationalism, Sexuality, and HIV Risk in the international scholarly journal Culture, Health and Sexuality. This collection of papers pays close attention to the role of transnationalism – in particular, cross-country mobility and connections, simultaneous cultural engagement and the “in-between” identities of Chinese immigrants in Canada – in shaping the meanings of, and power dynamics around, gender, sexuality, “race”, socioeconomic status and the nation-state in the contexts of HIV-related risk and HIV prevention. The symposium not only makes an important theoretical contribution by introducing "transnationalism" into health studies more generally; it also offers highly original analyses of a variety of specific real-world problems and questions—such as HIV prevention policy and practice in a changing, interconnected world—that are inadequately studied.

 

Research Team

Principal Investigators

Dr. Y. Rachel Zhou, Professor, School of Social Work and the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University, Canada

Dr. William D. Coleman, FRSC,  Emeritus Professor, Balsillie School of International Affairs and  Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo , Canada

Dr. Yingying Huang, Associate Professor, School of Sociology and Population Studies;  Director, the Institute of Sexuality and Gender, Renmin University, Beijing, China

Co-investigators

Dr. Roy CainEmeritus Professor, School of Social Work, McMaster University, Canada

Dr. Jacqueline Gahagan, Professor, School of Health and Human Performance; Director, the Gender and Health Promotion Studies Unit, Dalhousie University, Canada

Dr. Evelyne Micollier, Research Scholar, French National Research Institute for Development (IRD), CESSMA, Paris, France

Dr. Christina SindingProfessor and Director, School of Social Work, McMaster University, Canada

Dr. Wei Wei, Professor, School of Social Development, the East China Normal University, Shanghai, China

Collaborators:

Chi Heng Foundation, Shanghai, China 
Institute of Sexuality and Gender, Renmin University of China 
Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS), Toronto, Canada
St. Stephen’s House, Toronto, Canada

 

 

Publications and Presentations

Project Publications

Zhou, Y. R., Watt, L., Micollier, E., & J. Gahagan. (2018). "Rethinking ‘Chinese community’ in the context of transnationalism: The case of economic immigrants from China in Canada". Journal of International Migration and Integration. Advanced Online Publication. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12134-018-0622-9

Micollier, E. (2017). Femininities on transnational journeys and sexual health risk: experiences of Chinese immigrant women in Canada. Gender, Place & Culture, 24(12): 1787-1806. DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2017.1400952

Zhou, Y. R. Coleman, W. D., Huang, Y., Sinding, C. Wei, W., Gahagan, J., Micollier, E., & Su, H. (2017). “Editorial introduction: Exploring theintersections of transnationalism, sexuality and HIV risk”. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 19 (6), 645-652. Open Access

Huang, H. (2017). Sexuality and everydayness in a transnational context: toward a re-imagined West-China relationship?, Culture, Health & Sexuality, 19(6), 667-679. Open Access.

Wei, W. (2017). Masculinities on transnational journeys: sexual practices and risk management among male Chinese immigrants to Canada. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 19 (6), 680-694. Open Access.

Sinding, C., & Zhou, Y. R. (2017). Intimacy, identity and relationship in the accounts of Chinese immigrants to Canada: The contribution of narrative analysis. Culture, Health & Sexuality. 19 (6), 653-666. Open Access.

Zhou, Y. R. (2017). ‘Race’ and HIV vulnerability in a transnational context: The case of Chinese Immigrants to Canada. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 19 (6), 695-708. Open Access.

Zhou, Y.R. (2012). Changing behaviours and continuing silence: Sex in the post-immigration lives of mainland Chinese immigrants in CanadaCulture, Health & Sexuality, 14(1): 87-110. 

Zhou, Y.R. & Coleman, W. (2011). "It’s a forced separation … and we’ve got used to this kind of life": Changing dynamics of HIV risk in the context of immigrationInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care, 7(1): 5-15. 

Project Presentations

Micollier, E. (2018).  “Transnational lives of Chinese (im)migrant women in Canada: family relations, meanings and intimate experiences 'in-between' space and time”. EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) 2018: Staying, Moving, Settling, Stockholm University, Sweden, August 14-17.

Zhou, Y. R., Coleman, W. D., Huang, Y., Sinding, C., Wei, W., Cain, R., Gahagan, J., & Micollier, E. (2018). “The intersections of transnationalism, sexuality and HIV risk: The case of Chinese immigrants to Canada”. The 22nd International AIDS Conference, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 23-27 July.

Evelyne Micollier (2017). “« Fémininités&masculinités en 'voyages' transnationaux: le cas d'(im)migrants chinois vivant entre la Chine et le Canada » (Femininities and masculinities in transnational journeys: the case of Chinese (im)migrants living in between China and Canada). Seminar Programme "Norms, Circulations and Governance in Asia', 17 mai, Université de Paris 7, CESSMA.

Zhou, Y. R., Sinding, C., Arnold, E., Wei, W., Huang, Y.  Gahagan, J., Cain, R. Peng, L., Su, H., & Micollier, E., (2015) “Chinese immigrants’ perceptions about and responses to HIV risk in interracial intimate relationships: Understanding power and agency in a transnational context”. Paper presented at the 2015 CAHR Conference, April 30- May 3.

Wei, W. (2015) “Living in transantional spaces: Sexaulity, Masculinities, and national identities” (in Chiense). A talk at the Social Theories Workshop, Shanghai University, China.

Sinding, C., Zhou, Y. R., Wei, W., Huang, Y., Cain, R., Su, H., Arnold, E., Gahagan, J., Bao, Y., & Micollier, E. (2014). “The Migration of Desire: Chinese Immigrants' Accounts of Sexuality and Intimate Relationships in Transnational Contexts”. Paper presented at the 2014 CAHR Conference, May 1-4.

Zhou, Y. R., Huang, Y., Cain, R., Wei, W., Sinding, C., Gahagan, J., Su, H., Arnold. E., Micollier, E., & Johnson, N. (2014). “Theoretical promise and practical challenges: Reflections on an ongoing international project on transnationalism and HIV risk”. Paper presented at the 2014 CAHR Conference, May 1-4.

Wei, W. (2014). "Identity, Sexuality and National Belongings: Transnational Masculinities of Chinese Immigrants to Canada", Paper presented at the Conference on Translating Chinese Masculinities: Chinese Men in Global Context, University of Hong Kong, December, 2014.

Zhou, Y. R., Sinding, C., Arnold, E., Wei, W., Huang, Y.  Gahagan, J., Cain, R. Peng, L.,  Su, H.,  & Micollier, E., (2015) “Chinese immigrants’ perceptions about and responses to HIV risk in interracial intimate relationships: Understanding power and agency in a transnational context”. Paper presented at the 2015 CAHR Conference, April 30- May 3. 

Wei, W., Zhou, Y.R., Su, H., Huang, Y. & Gahagan, J.(2014)." Identity, Sexuality, and National Belongings: Transnational Masculinities of Chinese immigrants in Canada". Paper presented at "Translating Chinese Masculinities: Chinese Men in Global Context” Conference, University of Hong Kong, Dec 11-13. 

Zhou, Y. R., Huang, Y., Cain, R., Wei, W., Sinding, C., Gahagan, J., Su, H., Arnold. E., Micollier, E., & Johnson, N. (2014) “Theoretical promise and practical challenges: Reflections on an ongoing international project on transnationalism and HIV risk”. Paper presented at the 2014 CAHR Conference, May 1-4.

Sinding, C., Zhou, Y. R., Wei, W., Huang, Y., Cain, R., Su, H., Arnold, E., Gahagan, J., Bao, Y., & Micollier, E. (2014) “The Migration of Desire: Chinese Immigrants' Accounts of Sexuality and Intimate Relationships in Transnational Contexts”. Paper presented to the 2014 CAHR Conference, May 1-4.

Zhou, Y.R., & Coleman, W.  (2011) Overwhelming uncertainties and contested threats: A contextual understanding of the HIV risk faced by Chinese immigrants in Canada. Paper presented at the 20th Annual Canadian Conference on HIV/AIDS Research, Toronto, Canada, April 14-17.

Zhou, Y. R. (2011) The changing relationship between public and private domains: Understanding the sex/sexuality of and relevant health risk concerning Chinese immigrants in Canada (in Chinese). Paper presented at Rights and Diversities: The 3rd International Conference on Sexualities in China, Beijing, China, June 21-23, 2011.

Zhou, Y.R., Coleman, W., & Majumdar, B., Peng, L., and Ji, X. (2010) Globalization, transnationalism, and multiculturalism: Some reflections on HIV/AIDS services for Chinese immigrants in Canada. Paper presented at the 2010 OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) Research Conference, Toronto, Canada, November 15-16.

Zhou, Y.R., (2010) Sexual health risks faced by Chinese immigrant women in Canada. Invited presentation, International Women’s Day Celebrating Asian Women’s Sexual Health Information Session, Asian Community AIDS Services, Toronto, Canada, March 6.

Zhou, Y.R., Coleman, W., & Majumdar, B. (2009) Living in "transnational spaces": An exploration of the influence of the home country on the HIV risk facing recent Chinese immigrants in Canada. Paper presented at the 2009 OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) Research Conference, Toronto, Canada, 16-17 November.

Zhou, Y.R., Coleman, W., & Majumdar, B. (2008)."Can you change your project title?": Learning from the key informants of a HIV research project. Paper presented at the 2008 OHTN (Ontario HIV Treatment Network) Research Conference, Toronto, Canada, November 13-14.

Contact:

If you are interested in more information about this project please contact mail to: Yanqiu Rachel Zhou (Principal Investigator).

Contact Yanqiu Rachel Zhou