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Book Talk: Time and Migration with Professor Ken Chih-Yan Sun

October 8, 2021

Professor Ken Chih-Yan Sun of Villanova University was invited by the UW Taiwan Studies Program and UW Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology to present on his recent monograph, Time and Migration: How Long-Term Taiwanese Migrants Negotiate Later Life. Dr. Sun’s talk provided key insights into the experience of elderly Taiwanese immigrants’ experiences in the United States and how their perceptions, feelings and views change over time. He introduced his work by speaking generally on Taiwanese immigrants in America and how the common images of elderly East Asian immigrants are static. Dr. Sun explained how his research goes against these stereotypes by revealing that Taiwanese immigrants’ experiences are defined by many dynamic changes in their relationships with their children, the United States, and Taiwan. He explored each of these different variables and provided examples from the lives of various immigrants who he interviewed. Dr. Sun specifically highlighted the change in traditional family dynamics and how immigrant families in the United States tend to not have the same level of care for elders. He also explained the ways that immigrants change their perception of Taiwan as Taiwan is no longer the agrarian society that they left decades ago. Dr. Sun went on to explain how this disconnect between memory and modernity is particularly noticeable amongst immigrants that return to Taiwan as they have to grapple with not only how their home country has changed but also how they themselves have changed or Americanized.

For more on Professor Sun’s monograph and the Book Talk itself, please watch below, or on our Youtube channel.


Ken Chih-Yan Sun an Assistant Professor at Villanova University, his research interests include families, migration, life stage, inequalities, and globalization. He has published works in Social Problems, Journal of Marriage and Family; Global Networks; Sociological Forum; Qualitative Sociology; Ethnic and Racial Studies; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies; Symbolic Interaction; Identities; Journal of Family Issues; and Current Sociology. He is working with Peggy Levitt, Erica Dobbs, and Ruxandra Paul on a new book project, titled Transnational Social Protection: Transforming Social Welfare in a World on the Move.