Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:Family, Food, Nation, and Economy: Attachment to China and the Return (or Not) of Chinese Graduate Students in the Sciences and Engineering
Author(s):Romero, Jason C.
Contributor(s):Villagrana, Sasha; Kim, Sarah; Chae, Seun Ju
Subject(s):graduate students
ANTH499 S08
brain drain
Abstract:For our project we sought to identify the meanings that male graduate students in the sciences and engineering mobilize when making plans for after they graduate. We conducted eight interviews and found that these students considered aspects such as family, food, nation, and economy when formulating their future plans. In particular, it appears that, now that China's economy is more similar to that of the United States, these students are allowed to reconsider values they have long held but were unable to make their priority. Furthermore, it also appears that there may be two groups among male graduate students in the sciences and engineering, if not graduate students in general -- those who return to China because they are attached to it and those who stay in the United States because they are not.
Issue Date:2008
Course / Semester:Anth 499, East Asian Youth and Global Futures, Prof. Nancy Abelmann and Prof. Karen Kelsky: East Asian youth have experienced perhaps the world’s most compressed development as well as the world’s most aggressive globalization policies. This course examines how youth in East Asia (China/s, Japan, and the Koreas) are making their way in our globalizing world, focusing in particular on the transformations in work, education, recreation, gender, and sexuality brought about by neoliberal economic restructuring in the region. Topics studied include the insecure job market for young people, consumerism, globalized pop culture phenomena such as Pokemon, the Korean wave, and Internet gaming, emergent LGBT communities, etc. Students are encouraged to focus their research projects on aspects of the U. of I. student life that reflect the experiences of East Asian youth in a global market. The U of I offers a fascinating window on East Asian youth because of the many college (and pre-college) students who make their way here – as well as the movement of “Amercian” youth to East Asia. Through participation in the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), students will conduct local field research that reveals the global processes at issue. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-06-05

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.
  • Globalization and the University
    This collection examines the influence of globalization on the university and the university's place in a burgeoning world market for higher education.
  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.

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