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Surviving the Sanctuary City
Asylum-Seeking Work in Nepali New York


About the Author

Tina Shrestha is assistant professor at the Waseda Institute for Advanced Study, Waseda University.


Over the past several decades, the vibrant, multiethnic borough of Queens has seen growth in the community of Nepali migrants, many of whom are navigating the challenging bureaucratic process of asylum legalization. Surviving the Sanctuary City follows them through the institutional spaces of asylum offices, law firms, and human rights agencies to document the labor of seeking asylum. As an interpreter and a volunteer at a grassroots community center, anthropologist Tina Shrestha has witnessed how migrants must perform a particular kind of suffering that is legible to immigration judges and asylum officers. She demonstrates the lived contradictions asylum seekers face while producing their "suffering testimonials" and traces their attempts to overcome these contradictions through the Nepali notions of kaagaz banaune (making paper) and dukkha (suffering).

Surviving the Sanctuary City asks what everyday survival among migrants and asylum seekers can tell us about the cultural logic of suffering within the confines of US borders. Through rich ethnographic detail and careful nuanced narratives, it puts the lives and perspectives of the Nepali migrant community at the center of the story. In so doing, Shrestha offers a fundamental rethinking of asylum seeking as a form of precarious labor and immigration enforcement in a rapidly changing US society.

The EU Migrant Generation in Asia:
Middle-Class Aspirations in Asian Global Cities


About the Author

Helena Hof is Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies, University of Zurich, and Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.


Drawing on an extensive study with young individuals who migrated to Singapore and Tokyo in the 2010s, this book sheds light on the friendships, emotions, hopes and fears involved in establishing life as Europeans in Asia.

It demonstrates how migration to Asian business centres has become a way of distinction and an alternative route of middle-class reproduction for young Europeans during that period. The perceived insecurities of life in the crisis-ridden EU result in these migrants’ onward migration or prolonged stays in Asia.

Capturing the changing roles of Singapore and Japan as migration destinations, this pioneering work makes the case for EU citizens’ aspired lifestyles and professional employment that is no longer only attainable in Europe or the West.

Tangled Mobilities:
Places, Affects, and Personhood across Social Spheres in Asian Migration


About the Editors

Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot is tenured research associate of the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.-FNRS) and senior lecturer (maîtresse d’enseignement) at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. Her recent publications include the co-edited volume International Marriages and Marital Citizenship: Southeast Asian Women on the Move (Routledge, 2017).

Gracia Liu-Farrer is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, and Director of Institute of Asian Migrations, Waseda University, Japan. She is the co-editor of Routledge Handbook of Asian Migration (2018, with Brenda Yeoh) and the author of Immigrant Japan: Mobility and Belonging in an Ethnonationalist Society (Cornell University Press, 2020).


The emotional, social, and economic challenges faced by migrants and their families are interconnected through complex decisions related to mobility. Tangled Mobilities examines the different crisscrossing and intersecting mobilities in the lives of Asian migrants, their family members across Asia and Europe, and the social spaces connecting these regions. In exploring how the migratory process unfolds in different stages of migrants’ lives, the chapters in this collected volume broaden perspectives on mobility, offering insight into the way places, affects, and personhood are shaped by and connected to it.

Immigrant Japan:

Mobility and Belonging in an Ethno-nationalist Society


About the Author

Gracia Liu-Farrer is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Japan.


Immigrant Japan?  Sounds like a contradiction, but as Gracia Liu-Farrer shows, millions of immigrants make their lives in Japan, dealing with the tensions between belonging and not belonging in this ethno-nationalist country. Why do people want to come to Japan? Where do immigrants with various resources and demographic profiles fit in the economic landscape? How do immigrants narrate belonging in an environment where they are "other" at a time when mobility is increasingly easy and belonging increasingly complex?


Gracia Liu-Farrer illuminates the lives of these immigrants by bringing in sociological, geographical, and psychological theories—guiding the reader through life trajectories of migrants of diverse backgrounds while also going so far as to suggest that Japan is already an immigrant country.

Routledge Handbook of Asian Migrations

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About the Editors

Gracia Liu-Farrer is Professor of Sociology at the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies, Waseda University, Japan.


Brenda S.A. Yeoh is Professor in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore, and Research Leader of the Asian Migration Cluster at NUS’s Asia Research Institute.


Housing more than half of the global population, Asia is a region characterised by increasingly diverse forms of migration and mobility. Offering a wide-ranging overview of the field of Asian migrations, this new handbook therefore seeks to examine and evaluate the flows of movement within Asia, as well as into and out of the continent. Through in-depth analysis of both empirical and theoretical developments in the field, it includes key examples and trends such as British colonialism, Chinese diaspora, labour migration, the movement of women, and recent student migration.


Organised into thematic parts, the topics cover:

  • The historical context to migration in Asia

  • Modern Asian migration pathways and characteristics

  • The reconceptualising of migration through Asian experiences

  • Contemporary challenges and controversies in Asian migration practice and policy


Contributing to the retheorising of the subject area of international migration from non-western experience, the Routledge Handbook of Asian Migrations will be useful to students and scholars of migration, Asian development and Asian Studies in general.

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