Decolonizing Mothering: Asian Immigrant Mothers’ Learning in Transnational Canada

November 14, 2019

In the past decade, a great number of Asian immigrant mothers, together with their families, chose to settle and live in Canada. In their new country of settlement, they not only started to (re)learn the language, acquire employment skills, and undertake mothering duties, but they also retained transnational relationships with their home countries and practised learning in transnational spaces. These migrants retained a strong relationship with their home country; some of them even returned to their home country eventually.

This presentation discusses how Asian immigrant mothers in Canada learn to become “ideal mothers” and (re)construct their identities in association with the reproduction of race, gender, and class inequalities in transnational Canada. The purpose of this talk is to use decolonization as a theoretical framework for unpacking the colonial relations behind the knowledge of mothering through the exploration of Asian immigrant mothers’ everyday lives. This presentation is based on a two-year critical ethnographic study that was undertaken in a Vancouver-based immigration settlement organization in Canada. In fieldwork spanning 2015-2017, in-depth ethnographic interviews with 30 Asian immigrant mothers in this immigration settlement organization were conducted. The speaker will examine how Asian immigrant mothers (re)construct their fluid identity, learn parenting skills, and experience transnational relationships in Canada. She will also discuss how knowledge has been shaped and produced through colonial relations in transnational contexts.


Dr. Yidan Zhu is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of British Columbia. She obtained her PhD in Adult Education and Community Development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), University  of Toronto. She received her MEd degree from the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University. Her articles have been published in several peer-reviewed journals, such as Canadian Journal for the Study in Adult Education, Canadian Ethnic Studies, British Journal of Social Work, and Educational Gerontology. Her current work focuses on adult immigrants’ lifelong learning and health professionals’ education.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

12:30 - 2:30pm

SFU Burnaby
8888 University Drive, Burnaby
Academic Quadrangle
Room 5027