Fighting to Build Family Resources: Women Remaining in Place in Rural-to-Urban Migration


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This project examines how rural Qiang women leverage economic and political strategies to garner resources for their families against the backdrop of rural-to-urban migration. Based on ethnographic field research in Changle, a Qiang ethnic minority and migrant-sending community in southwest China, the project investigates how Changle’s aging Qiang women confront the unanticipated consequences of China’s headlong pursuit of a rapidly globalizing market economy, its protracted population control policies and ramifications, and the entrenched rural-urban inequalities. This project explores how these socio-political processes have forcefully combined to destabilize their traditional cultural and social patterns and analyzes how these older Qiang women resist the strong forces of structural marginality by assuming increased labor burdens, by reshaping gender and inter-generational relations, and by renegotiating marriage arrangements and the distribution of benefits while coping with the rising precarity embedded in China’s state-sponsored rural development and urbanization schemes.