Elena Barabantseva

Dr. Elena Barabantseva (Lecturer)

Biography: Elena received a PhD in International Relations from the University of Manchester in January 2006 and joined Politics as a British Inter-University China Centre Fellow in Chinese Politics in September 2006, moving to lectureship in September 2011. Before coming to Manchester as a FCO/Chevening scholar to study for MA in International Relations in 2001, she had studied at the Belarusian State University (Minsk).

Elena is a member of the British Inter-University China Centre (BICC), http://www.bicc.ac.uk/

email: e.v.barabantseva@manchester.ac.uk

Tel: 0161 275 2505


Research Interests:

Cluster Research Orientations:

Studies of Citizenship, Migration and (Human) Rights

Studies of Critical Methods and the Politics of Knowledge.

Specific research interests

My earlier research looked into how the formation of the Chinese national state was historically shaped through the state engagements with ethnically diverse populations and emigrants. This scholarly concern informed my book on the role of overseas Chinese and ethnic minorities in the Chinese state’s pursuit of modernisation-centered national project. This book entitled Overseas Chinese, Ethnic Minorities and Nationalism: De-Centering China (Routledge 2010) discusses the place of territoriality and ethnicity in the Chinese state-led national project. In my current research I explore the intersections of mobility, place, and ethnicity in the contexts of Manchester (UK) and a border area between China and Vietnam.

Current Projects:

I am currently working on the following three projects:

  1. I am working on an article on the competing histories of Manchester’s Chinatown. This research project was funded by a seed-corn grant from cities@manchester and will also result in a short videocast narrating the history and current developments surrounding  Manchester’s Chinatown
  2. With the support from BICC, I am working on a collaborative documentary project with Andy Lawrence (Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology and All Rites Reversed), tentatively called ‘British Born Chinese’, exploring the sense of being and becoming a British born Chinese citizen in Manchester.
  3. I am coordinating a BICC-funded research network ‘Borders of Migration’ bringing together researchers from Europe, Mainland China, and Taiwan interested in the issues of marriage migration to China and Taiwan. The research network workshop exploring these themes will take place at Tunghai University (Taiwan) on 2-4 January 2014. My current research in this area looks at how the issues of marriage migration and informality play out in the Yao ethnic areas on the Sino-Vietnamese border.

Publications (authored, edited, contributions):


Overseas Chinese, Ethnic Minorities and Nationalism: De-Centering China, Asia’s Transformations Series, Routledge, 2010

China Orders the World? Normative Soft Power and Foreign Policy co-edited with William A. Callahan, Woodrow Wilson Centre Press/John Hopkins University Press, 2012

‘New and Old Diversities in Contemporary China’, special issue of Modern China 38(1), co-edited with Frank Pieke, 2012

Diaspora and Citizenship, co-edited with Claire Sutherland, London: Routledge, 2011

Journal articles

‘In pursuit of an alternative development? Modernisation trap in Chinese official development discourse’, East Asia: An International Quarterly, 29: 63-79, 2012

Introduction: China’s new and old diversity (editors Introduction, with Frank Pieke), Modern China 38(1): 3-9, 2012

‘Who are ‘overseas Chinese ethnic minorities’? Transnational ethnic unity efforts of the Chinese state’, Modern China 38(1): 78-109, 2012

‘The politics of everyday ethnicity in China’ (review essay) Asian Ethnicity 12(3): 355-361, 2011

‘Diaspora and Citizenship: Introduction’ in Nationalism and Ethnic Politics  17(1) (with C. Sutherland): 1-13, 2011

‘Change vs. Order: Shijie Meets Tianxia in China’s Interactions with the World’, Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 34: 129-155, 2009

‘Development as Localization: Ethnic Minorities in Official Discourse on China’s Western Development Project’, Critical Asian Studies 41: 2 (June): 225-254, 2009

“From the Language of Class to the Rhetoric of Development: Discourses of ‘Nationality’ and ‘Ethnicity’ in China”, the Journal of Contemporary China 2008 17: 56: 565-589, 2008

‘Trans-Nationalising Chinese Nation-State: Overseas Chinese in the PRC’s Modernisation Strategies’, ASIEN (refereed journal of the German Association of Asian Studies), July: 7-28, 2005


China, nationalism, ethnicity, migration, citizenship, borders


PhD Supervision (details of PhD students – completed and in progress):

David Tobin ‘Nation-Building and Ethnic Boundaries in China’s Northwest’, completed in July 2013

Hou Jiaqi ‘The Changing Identity and Political Participation of British ChinesePolitics’, submitted in June 2013

Malgorzata Jakimow, ‘Imagining space for change? The negotiation of internal migrant workers’ citizenship in China’, from 2009

Teaching (undergraduate and postgraduate modules):

In 2013-24 I will teach on the following courses:

POLI 10202 Introduction to Comparative Politics

POLI31021 Borders, Identities, Citizenship

POLI60321 Perspectives on Contemporary China

Additional Information

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students interested in pursuing projects in an area related to my research interests.

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