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Permanent Outsiders in China

American Migrants’ Otherness in the Chinese Gaze


Yang Liu

This book situates migrating individuals’ sense of Otherness in receiving countries front and center and systematically illustrates the configuration of Western migrants’ Other-identity during their reverse migration from the West to China, which has become a new destination of international migration due to its rise to prominence in the global labor market. Consequently, international migrants from Western countries, especially those with skills desired in China, have become this country’s main target in the global race for talent. In this context, this book attends to American migrants on the Chinese mainland, who are perceived as the prototypical waiguoren in this region, as an illuminating case, and illustrates the configuration of their Other-identity, rising from their intercultural adaptation as the privileged but marginalized Other in an asymmetric power structure. This book also attempts to reveal the condition and process of Chinese Othering of American migrants that exists but is far less openly discussed in China.

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This book evolves from my dissertation that examined American migrants’ experience of being the Other in China. I am indebted to many people who gave their support, assistance, and encouragement to me. While every acknowledgment I can recall includes a statement similar to “This research would not have been possible without them,” I now fully understand why that statement is so prominent.

First, I wish to thank acquisitions editors Dr. Erika Hendrix and Mr. Michael Gibson, editorial assistant Ms. Ashita Shah, US production manager Ms. Jackie Pavlovic, and production editor Ms. Malini Harikumar at Peter Lang, who responded positively to the book proposal, and then helped me facilitate the manuscript through all stages of review and production. I also thank Dr. Tom Nakayama and Dr. Bernadette Calafell, series editors of Critical Intercultural Communication Studies at Peter Lang, for their recognition of and helpful comments on this book project. I must thank Dr. Todd Sandel, associate professor of Communication at the University of Macau, for his suggestions on how to strengthen the theoretical framework and arguments of this book.

Next, I must extend my sincere gratitude to my doctoral committee members at the University of Oklahoma. Thank you, Dr. Eric M. Kramer, for your continual inspiration, unending encouragement, and patient guidance that were essential for me to complete the draft manuscript of this book. As so many others in my position have said, words are inadequate to express my deep appreciation ←ix | x→for your...

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