Wednesday, April 9, 2014

[Upcoming Seminar] Milk Powder, Yakult and Cigarettes – Cross-border Shopping and ‘Borrowed Modernity’ in China

Milk Powder, Yakult and Cigarettes – Cross-border Shopping and ‘Borrowed Modernity’ in China

Speaker: CHAN Yuk Wah
(Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong)
Time: 12:30 p.m., Friday, 11 April 2014
Venue: Room 401 Humanities Building, New Asia College, CUHK

Hong Kong received over 30 million Chinese tourists in 2012, a majority of whom crossed the land border through the ‘Individual Travelers Scheme’ (described colloquially as ziyouxing, free-walk) implemented in Hong Kong since 2003. While Chinese tourists continued to flock to HK to buy toothpaste, medicine, milk powder, Yakult (益力多) and other daily consumer items, there has been increasing noise in Hong Kong objecting to the unregulated massive influx of Chinese tourists. This seminar will provide updated data of Chinese outbound tourism into Hong Kong and the cultural meanings of this type of cross-border shopping. It offers a thick description of borderland interaction between mainlanders and Hong Kongers. It argues that cross-border shopping is not only about corporeal experiences of material modernity in outbound tourism, it is also about a lack of ‘material authenticity’ in post-reform China. This shopping reveals the ‘risk society’ produced by the China model, which has forced millions of southerners to obtain authentic material goods and borrow ‘modernity’ from across the border.

Yuk Wah Chan is Assistant Professor at City University of Hong Kong. Her research areas include Chinese outbound tourism, migration, borderlands and Vietnam-China relations. Her recent publications include ‘Vietnamese-Chinese Relationships at the Borderlands: Trade, Tourism and Cultural Politics’ (Routledge, 2013) and ‘The Chinese/Vietnamese Diaspora - Revisiting the Boat People’ (Routledge, 2011).

The seminar will be conducted in English


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