The Last Train Home: Migrant Workers in China and Southeast Asia

PLEASE REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE

Time: 10:00am-2pm
Date: Friday, March 2nd, 2012
Location: Room 108N, Munk School of Global Affairs, 1 Devonshire Place
Speaker: Professors Bill Hurst, Rachel Silvey, Alana Boland

Discussion on migrant workers in China and Southeast Asia from political economy, feminist, and development perspectives. Followed by a screening of the critically acclaimed 2009 film “The Last Train Home” by Lixin Fan.

The number of migrant workers in China and Southeast Asian has grown exponentially in recent decades. Migrant workers have a major impact on the social, political, and economic conditions of the region. Yet, many of them lack social protection and basic rights, and experience exploitation and abuse. A panel featuring Professors Bill Hurst, Rachel Silvey, and Alana Boland will examine the lived realities of migrant workers in China and Southeast Asia, from political economy, feminist, and development perspectives.

Prof. Bill Hurst, Assistant Professor of Political Science, came to the University of Toronto in 2011 after four years at the University of Texas. Trained principally as a specialist on Chinese politics, he took his first steps toward researching Southeast Asia as a graduate student at UC-Berkeley in the early 2000s by studying Indonesian language, including intensively at the COTIM program in Manado in 2004. After two years in a China studies postdoc, he renewed his work on Indonesia in 2008 and spent the 2009-2010 academic year as a Fulbright scholar attached to Airlangga University in Surabaya. His research and teaching interests focus on the politics of Indonesian courts and legal institutions, as well as social movements and contentious politics, labor politics, and the political economy of land.

Prof. Rachel Silvey, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, received her BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz and her MA and PhD from the University of Washington. Her research interests include migration, Indonesia, feminist theory, critical development studies, and the politics of transnationalism. Her expertise is in the gender dimensions of migration and economic change in Indonesia. Her recent research focuses on the ways in which gender politics of migration are inflected by religion.

Prof. Alana Boland, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, received her BA from Reed College, and her MAIS and PhD from the University of Washington. Her research interests include the environment and development, water governance, sustainability and urban political economy, and China from the 1950s to the present. Her teaching areas include the changing geography of China, global political geography, and the intersection between the environment and development.

The panel will include a Q&A session, followed by light refreshments.

Afterwards, there will be a screening of “The Last Train Home”, a critically acclaimed 2009 film by Lixin Fan. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times wrote that the film is “Beautifully shot, haunting and haunted … about an astonishing migration involving 130 million Chinese workers who each year travel by train, boat, and foot to return home for New Year’s.” Among the film’s many accolades, it won Best Feature Documentary at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the Golden Gate Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival, and Grand Prix at the EBS International Documentary Festival.

If you have any questions, please contact pass@utoronto.ca. Event sponsored by the Pan-Asia Student Society, co-sponsored by the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia-Pacific Studies.