100 books like Chinese Senior Migrants and the Globalization of Retirement

By Nicole Dejong Newendorp,

Here are 100 books that Chinese Senior Migrants and the Globalization of Retirement fans have personally recommended if you like Chinese Senior Migrants and the Globalization of Retirement. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The New American Servitude: Political Belonging Among African Immigrant Home Care Workers

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

When American families hire “market proxies” to do care work, it leads to all sorts of tangled relationships. In this book, Cati Coe explores the experiences of immigrant Ghanaian home health workers in the US. Care work, although often monotonous and difficult, is also incredibly intimate, meaningful, and personal. These migrants provide crucial services for American elders, but many of them feel so unwelcome that they return to Africa when they retire. I love the gritty details that this book provides as it explores the paradoxes of discrimination and exploitation that Black African women face in the care work industry. If you like this book as much as I do, consider reading Coe’s subsequent book, which follows retired Ghanaian care workers back to Africa.   

By Cati Coe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The New American Servitude as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Finalist, 2020 Elliott P. Skinner Award, given by the Association of Africanist Anthropology
Examines why African care workers feel politically excluded from the United States
Care for America's growing elderly population is increasingly provided by migrants, and the demand for health care labor is only expected to grow. Because of this health care crunch and the low barriers to entry, new African immigrants have adopted elder care as a niche employment sector, funneling their friends and relatives into this occupation. However, elder care puts care workers into racialized, gendered, and age hierarchies, making it difficult for them to achieve social…


Book cover of Care Across Distance: Ethnographic Explorations of Aging and Migration

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

The authors in this lively edited volume provide eight short, readable chapters about migration and aging that span the globe, from Vienna to Ecuador to Upstate New York. How do elders displaced from Tibet think about a “second exile” in the United States? Do Bosnian migrants’ remittances make up for their long absences, or would it be better to stay home but not provide financial support? These ethnographers offer riveting windows into intergenerational relations in transnational families around the world.  

By Azra Hromadzic (editor), Monika Palmberger (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Care Across Distance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

World-wide migration has an unsettling effect on social structures, especially on aging populations and eldercare. This volume investigates how taken-for-granted roles are challenged, intergenerational relationships transformed, economic ties recalibrated, technological innovations utilized, and spiritual relations pursued and desired, and asks what it means to care at a distance and to age abroad. What it does show is that trans-nationalization of care produces unprecedented convergences of people, objects and spaces that challenge our assumptions about the who, how, and where of care.


Book cover of Gender, Migration and Social Transformation: Intersectionality in Bolivian Itinerant Migrations

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

This book gets at questions near and dear to my own ethnographic explorations, namely how migration changes gender roles in households. Women don’t leave home without figuring out care for young children and frail elders. Tanja Bastia looks at how Bolivian families handle the challenge of transnational parenting. Grandmothers often fill in for their migrant daughters (there’s the aging connection!), and migrant women struggle to balance their financial opportunities with the social stigma of having ‘abandoned’ their children in search of wealth.  

By Tanja Bastia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gender, Migration and Social Transformation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Intersectionality can be used to analyse whether migration leads to changes in gender relations. This book finds out how migrants from a peri-urban neighbourhood on the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, make sense of the migration journeys they have undertaken.

Migration is intrinsically related to social transformation. Through life stories and community surveys, the author explores how gender, class, and ethnicity intersect in people's attempts to make the most of the opportunities presented to them in distant labour markets. While aiming to improve their economic and material conditions, migrants have created a new transnational community that has undergone significant changes in…


Book cover of Aging and the Indian Diaspora: Cosmopolitan Families in India and Abroad

Michele Ruth Gamburd Author Of Linked Lives: Elder Care, Migration, and Kinship in Sri Lanka

From my list on migration and aging.

Why am I passionate about this?

My mom was an anthropologist, and when I was two, she took me to Sri Lanka, the island off the tip of India. After years of insisting that I wanted nothing to do with any social science, let alone anthropology, I ended up in graduate school studying… anthropology. Long story. Having taken up the family mantel, I returned to the village where I lived as a child and asked what had changed in the intervening years. Since then, my Sri Lankan interlocutors have suggested book topics that include labor migration, the use and abuse of alcohol, the aftermath of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and the challenges of aging. 

Michele's book list on migration and aging

Michele Ruth Gamburd Why did Michele love this book?

This ethnographic work delves into the lives of elders in Calcutta, India, including those who age in place with family nearby, those whose children have migrated abroad, and those who follow their family members to the US. I particularly love the way the author roots the work in traditional South Asian concepts of age and family relationships while dealing simultaneously with social changes such as India’s urbanization and economic liberalization, the out-migration of skilled tech workers, and the introduction of old folks’ homes in urban areas. The sensitive portrayal of life histories made me both laugh and cry. 

By Sarah E. Lamb (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aging and the Indian Diaspora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The proliferation of old age homes and increasing numbers of elderly living alone are startling new phenomena in India. These trends are related to extensive overseas migration and the transnational dispersal of families. In this moving and insightful account, Sarah Lamb shows that older persons are innovative agents in the processes of social-cultural change. Lamb's study probes debates and cultural assumptions in both India and the United States regarding how best to age; the proper social-moral relationship among individuals, genders, families, the market, and the state; and ways of finding meaning in the human life course.


Book cover of Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance

Alison R. Marshall Author Of The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba

From my list on to reimagine Chinatown.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by Chinese culture. My great uncle owned an import-export shop in 1920s Montreal and many of the things in his shop decorated my family home. An aunt who worked in Toronto’s Chinatown took me to see a Chinese opera performance and this began my journey to understand Chinese thought and culture first with an MA in Chinese poetry and then with a Ph.D. in East Asian Studies. After I learned that Sun Yatsen had visited Manitoba, where I had moved for work, my attention turned to Chinese nationalism. More than 15 years later, my research and work on KMT culture continues.

Alison's book list on to reimagine Chinatown

Alison R. Marshall Why did Alison love this book?

Denise Chong explores a similar period of Chinese Canadian history in Lives of the Family: Stories of Fate & Circumstance. Similar to my own book, Lives of the Family looks beyond Vancouver and British Columbia Chinatowns to tell the story of Chinese Canadian migrants, whose lives straddled continents, who ran successful businesses, and were involved with the KMT. 

By Denise Chong,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lives of the Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

International bestselling author of The Concubine's Children, Denise Chong returns to the subject of her most beloved book, the lives and times of Canada's early Chinese families.
     In 2011, Denise Chong set out to collect the history of the earliest Chinese settlers in and around Ottawa, who made their homes far from any major Chinatown. Many would open cafes, establishments that once dotted the landscape across the country and were a monument to small-town Canada. This generation of Chinese immigrants lived at the intersection of the Exclusion Act in Canada, which divided families between here and China, and 2 momentous…


Book cover of Thank You, Mr. Nixon: Stories

May-lee Chai Author Of Tomorrow in Shanghai: Stories

From my list on Asian American short story collections.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was growing up, I longed to see myself and my family represented in ways that were not demeaning. Hollywood movies showed Asian women as passive victims or hypersexualized “dragon ladies.” Depictions of Asian men were even fewer—they were mostly the enemy soldiers in the background of movies about the American war in Vietnam. I became a writer to try to correct these grossly flattened stereotypes. I am now the author of 11 books, and recipient of an American Book Award, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Asian Pacific American Award for Literature, a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book, and Bakwin Award for Writing by a Woman.

May-lee's book list on Asian American short story collections

May-lee Chai Why did May-lee love this book?

The stories in Thank You, Mr. Nixon combine history and family, characters reflecting on the ravages of time and how their lives have been buffeted by world events outside their control. There’s even a ghost of a Chinese girl writing from the afterlife to President Nixon in Hell. She thanks him for his historic decision to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China, a decision that changed her family’s life forever. The story is profound, moving, and very funny all at once. Jen is a master of the short story form, and this collection is superb.

By Gish Jen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thank You, Mr. Nixon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed, award-winning author of The Resisters takes measure of the fifty years since the opening of China and its unexpected effects on the lives of ordinary people. It is a unique book that only Jen could write—a story collection accruing the power of a novel as it proceeds—a work that Cynthia Ozick has called “an art beyond art. It is life itself.”

Beginning with a cheery letter penned by a Chinese girl in heaven to “poor Mr. Nixon” in hell, Gish Jen embarks on a fictional journey through U.S.-China relations, capturing the excitement of a world on the brink…


Book cover of Alien Nation: Chinese Migration in the Americas from the Coolie Era through World War II

Kevin Kenny Author Of The Problem of Immigration in a Slaveholding Republic: Policing Mobility in the Nineteenth-Century United States

From my list on US immigration in the nineteenth century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write and teach about nineteenth-century US history, and I am interested in immigration for both personal and professional reasons. A native of Dublin, Ireland, I did my undergraduate work in Edinburgh, Scotland, completed my graduate degree in New York City, moved to Austin, Texas for my first academic job and to Boston for my second job, and then returned to New City York to take up my current position at NYU, where I teach US immigration history and run Glucksman Ireland House. The key themes in my work—migration, diaspora, and empire—have been as central to my life journey as to my research and teaching. 

Kevin's book list on US immigration in the nineteenth century

Kevin Kenny Why did Kevin love this book?

Bridging the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in a sweeping, transnational history, Alien Nation provides a compelling account of Chinese migration to the Americas from the 1840s through World War II.

In vivid prose, Young tells the story of how Chinese laborers mined gold, built railroads, and harvested sugar cane; how anti-Chinese restrictionists demonized these workers as “coolies”; and how nationalist movements throughout the Americas enflamed anti-Chinese sentiment.

Alien Nation explains how different national governments borrowed from one other in crafting policies regulating and controlling Chinese immigration, but also how these policies clashed and diverged. Within this transnational framework, Elliott Young recovers the agency of Chinese migrants, facing exclusion, deportation, and segregation, who circumvented government policies to form vibrant communities that transcended national borders.

By Elliott Young,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alien Nation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sweeping work, Elliott Young traces the pivotal century of Chinese migration to the Americas, beginning with the 1840s at the start of the "coolie" trade and ending during World War II. The Chinese came as laborers, streaming across borders legally and illegally and working jobs few others wanted, from constructing railroads in California to harvesting sugar cane in Cuba. Though nations were built in part from their labor, Young argues that they were the first group of migrants to bear the stigma of being "alien." Being neither black nor white and existing outside of the nineteenth century Western…


Book cover of Last Boat Out of Shanghai: The Epic Story of the Chinese Who Fled Mao's Revolution

Claire Chao Author Of Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels

From my list on China’s greatest city Shanghai.

Why am I passionate about this?

“Old Shanghai” is in my blood: though raised in Hong Kong, I was surrounded by all things Shanghai through my parents and their friends, who had grown up during Shanghai’s 1930s heyday. The classical culture … the modern glamour … the breathtaking scandals! Since childhood I’ve searched for connections to my heritage; this fascination led me, years later, to write Remembering Shanghai with my mother, by then in her eighties. Having immersed myself in Shanghai history and culture most of my life, I am passionate about intimate, authentic stories that are told against a rich historical backdrop—the kind that make reviewers say “you can’t make this up!”

Claire's book list on China’s greatest city Shanghai

Claire Chao Why did Claire love this book?

Decadent Old Shanghai was never going to survive a Communist takeover. It wasn’t easy to leave—in her family, my mother was told she was the lucky one, and so was the mother of author Helen Zia. An accomplished journalist, Zia masterfully captures what it was like for four young people—including her mother—to make the wrenching decision to leave their homes for places unknown, the chaos and distress of boarding that fabled “last boat” out of Shanghai, and what came after. The core of the story unfolds through the authentic accounts of the main characters Benny, Annuo, Bing, and Ho. Additionally, Zia uses detailed research and extensive interviews with hundreds of émigrés from all strata of Shanghai society, bringing to life this last of a generation to embark on a largely forgotten mass exodus.

By Helen Zia,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Last Boat Out of Shanghai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The dramatic real life stories of four young people caught up in the mass exodus of Shanghai in the wake of China’s 1949 Communist revolution—a heartrending precursor to the struggles faced by emigrants today. 

“A true page-turner . . . [Helen] Zia has proven once again that history is something that happens to real people.”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa See

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY NPR AND THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR • FINALIST FOR THE PEN/JACQUELINE BOGRAD WELD AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY

Shanghai has historically been China’s jewel, its richest, most modern and westernized city.…


Book cover of I Sailed with Chinese Pirates

Larry Feign Author Of The Flower Boat Girl

From my list on Chinese pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

For half my life I’ve lived on an island near Hong Kong, walking distance from former pirate havens. I made my career as a cartoonist and published numerous satirical books about Hong Kong and China. Recently, I've spent years deeply researching the pirates of the South China coast, which culminated in writing an utterly serious book about the most powerful pirate of all, a woman about whom the misinformation vastly outnumbers the facts. I made it my mission to discover the truth about her. The books on this list hooked me on Chinese pirates in the first place and are essential starting points for anyone prepared to have their imaginations hijacked by Chinese “froth floating on the sea”.

Larry's book list on Chinese pirates

Larry Feign Why did Larry love this book?

Lilius, a Finnish-Russian journalist and adventurer, describes his first-hand account of sailing around the Pearl River Delta in the 1920s with the female pirate chieftain Lai Choi-san. It’s a swashbuckling page-turner, featuring cutthroats, cannons, and opium dens. It’s a wonder he survived unscathed. Yet even though he includes photos, there is reason to believe that he made up the whole thing, since there are no other records of Lai Choi-san. Worth reading anyway, for the details about ships, boat people culture, and coastal life in the late 1920s, were properly researched and all ring true. First published in 1930, it was reissued in 2009.

By Aleko E. Lilius,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Sailed with Chinese Pirates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An enthusiastic history of rampant Cantonese piracy in the 1930s, this first-hand account follows globetrotting journalist Aleko E. Lilius as he sets out to infiltrate mysterious pirate gangs. Describing every detail of the reporter’s life as he eats, sleeps, and sails with murderous gangs, this recollection chronicles the rapport between Lilius and South China’s notorious pirate queen, Lai Choi San. Including the harrowing misdeeds witnessed on Lilius’s journey, this record is a sensational, adventurous tale.


Book cover of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State

Warren I. Cohen Author Of East Asia at the Center: Four Thousand Years of Engagement with the World

From my list on understanding the coming war with China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent all of my adult life writing about American foreign policy, especially Chinese-American relations.  My America’s Response to China, the standard text on the subject, has gone through 6 editions. I served as a line officer in the Pacific Fleet, lived in Taipei and Beijing. I also served as chairman of the State Department Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation and have been a consultant on Chinese affairs to various government organizations. And I cook the best mapo toufu outside of Sichuan. (where I negotiated the Michigan-Sichuan sister-state relationship in 1982). It was probably my love of Chinese food that accounts for most of the above.

Warren's book list on understanding the coming war with China

Warren I. Cohen Why did Warren love this book?

I’ve known Liz since she was a graduate student and have been delighted to see her rise to become one of the leading authorities on the inside workings of the Chinese state. 

After years as the Council on Foreign Relations’ China expert, she left for the Hoover Institute for a quieter atmosphere for her research and writing, but she was drafted to serve as China adviser to Gina Raimondo, Biden’s secretary of commerce. There’s no better book on Xi’s China today.

By Elizabeth C. Economy,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Third Revolution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself, the expansion of the Communist Party's role in Chinese political, social, and economic life, and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the
exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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