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GSSC Seminar Series
21 May 2024


The Migrant as Continuum not Category: Intra-Asian Mobilities and Categorical Complexity


Laavanya Kathiravelu (Nanyang Technological University, School of Social Sciences, Singapore)



Looking historically as well as to contemporary intra-Asian migrations, this paper will interrogate the category of the migrant. Taking a boundary-making approach (Wimmer 2013) and utilizing ‘Asia as Method’ (Chen 2010), this research understands how the migrant/citizen or local/foreigner oppositional dichotomy can be dismantled when taking into account the non-linear, temporary and circular migration trajectories of much Asian mobility.


Laavanya Kathiravelu is Associate Professor of Sociology, and Associate Chair of Graduate and Continuing Education, School of Social Science, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her research and teaching interests lie in the intersections between migration & citizenship, urban studies, and race and ethnicity. While focused empirically on Southeast Asia and the Persian Gulf, her work also speaks to broader epistemological and conceptual debates. She was Fung Global Fellow at Princeton University between 2015-2016 and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (2011-2014). In 2022, Laavanya was a Fulbright Fellow at the City University of New York. She also sits on the Executive Boards of AWARE, an organisation advocating or gender equality, and HOME, a migrant rights and welfare charity.