Henry Yu

Associate Professor

Relevant Degree Programs

 

Graduate Student Supervision

Doctoral Student Supervision (Jan 2008 - May 2019)
Kisah sukses : stories of Indonesian migrant worker returnees living in greater Jakarta (2018)

Based on interviews with Indonesian women migrant workers and informed by their experience living in Greater Jakarta, this dissertation explores how migrant worker returnees view their work experience overseas and how their lives in Asian urban centres affected their life back in the Indonesian urban centre. It focuses on their relationships with the complex notions of "city," that reflect the returnee women's attachment to "home," and their desire to build it in a new space where they have settled. The dissertation also seeks to unfold how the city is represented through their experiences. In telling the stories of the past and present, the women shared their written works, documentary films, and their everyday life experiences to provide a more nuanced understanding of "migration" and "migrant workers." The dissertation explores the returnee women’s interpretations of "Jakarta" and "Indonesia," notions of return, and the idea of an emotionscape.

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Unwanted refugees : Chinese migration and the making of a global humanitarian agenda, 1949-1989 (2012)

This project traces the history of population movements out of “Red China” during the Cold War and investigates how certain Chinese migrants came to be treated as refugees when the vast majority did not. From 1949 to 1989 thousands of people left the People’s Republic of China. The settler societies of the British Commonwealth offered refuge to only a few.Contrary to the politics surrounding the flight of individuals and groups from the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, no discourse of “Cold War warrior” or “freedom fighter” attended the movement of people leaving the Chinese mainland after the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949. In investigating the reason for this marked difference, this project connects the mediating role played by humanitarian actors and officials in Hong Kong with longstanding histories of racist exclusion in the settler societies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. States were confronted with the challenge of reconciling notions of universal human rights, liberty and freedom with their persistent reservations about the desirability of Chinese migrants. As a result, there was an inconsistent and fractured response to the idea advanced by NGOs, churches and Chinese community organizations that the people leaving China were refugees in need of assistance. States responded to the movement of people and pressure from humanitarian actors by carefully delineating the ways and means in which people would be identified as refugees. They proffered aid accordingly. Questions of assistance and protection were deeply entwined with the elaborate migration controls and regulation that characterized the international migration regime of the late twentieth century. Authorities frequently defined people as illegal in order to reject calls to provide assistance or protection. While the discourse of illegality undermined claims to refugeehood, the growth in the number and variety of official migration categories meant that people simply moved according to whatever category, or discrete resettlement program, was available to them. This movement subverted state efforts at regulating migration and further undermined the work of religious and secular humanitarians who consistently depicted refugees as abject and helpless. Humanitarian actors were therefore only modestly successful in their efforts to secure consistent state engagement with refugee issues. For most of the Cold War, refugees from China were unwanted in the settler societies of the British Commonwealth.

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Master's Student Supervision (2010 - 2018)
Respect, reciprocity, and right relations : learning and co-producing stories about the Chinese market gardens at Musqueam (2018)

The full abstract for this thesis is available in the body of the thesis, and will be available when the embargo expires.

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Handmaids of medicine : Filipino nurses' liminality in infant mortality campaigns (2011)

In the 1920s, Philippine infant mortality campaigns called into question Filipino women’s capacity to care as both mothers and nurses. Therefore the campaign required a two-step process of first remodeling elite Filipino women as nurses who would then transfer their knowledge to mothers. In order to address the needs of the people, nurse education needed to be remodeled. Therefore, the colonial government partnered with the Rockefeller Foundation (RF) to remodel Philippine nursing through an experimental system that emphasized university training and specialization in public health. Even though the Foundation wanted to prove the universality of this system it was inevitably hampered by local conditions in the Philippines. It would take two decades for a university nurse training system to finally take shape. Although it took years for the university system to be established offshoots of the original program did take root, particularly the RF fellowship program that sponsored Filipino nurses to temporarily migrate to the U.S. to study abroad.By examining a variety of sources, including RF records, letters, newspapers, dissertations and conference transcripts, this paper considers the role Filipino student nurses played in infant mortality campaigns. Filipino nurses sought U.S. training, in order to have their medical authority recognized, but in seeking recognition within a system that saw Filipino nurses as inherently inferior due to their race, gender, and profession meant that their authority would perpetually be called into question. For Filipino nurses that took part in the colonial medical project they occupied a liminal space that both simultaneously validated and invalidated their knowledge. The dilemma of recognition was an issue that all Filipino migrants in the U.S. faced which created a constant state of surveillance within the community abroad. While some crumbled under the pressure of constant policing other Filipinos used it challenge the U.S. colonial project. At infant mortality health conferences, Filipino medical practitioners asserted their own medical authority. Even though these conferences were the same sites where both colonial and native medical practitioners invalidated nurse knowledge, nurses used it to legitimize native authority and the medical authority of women.

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