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About me

Cangbai Wang studied Bachelor and Master degrees in History at Peking University, and obtained his Ph.D. from University of Hong Kong (2003) with a dissertation on ‘Re-establishing networks: Capital, Power and Identity in the Making of an Indonesian Chinese Community in Hong Kong’. He worked in the Research Department, Office of Overseas Chinese Affairs of the State Council of the PRC (1990 to 1995). Prior to joining University of Westminster in 2008, he worked as a Post-doctoral Fellow/Honorary Assistant Professor at University of Hong Kong and a Visiting Lecturer at City University of Hong Kong.


Cangbai Wang has been involved in the teaching of a wide range of courses in the areas of Chinese studies, Chinese language and migration studies. The modules he led include ‘Introduction to Chinese Media and Culture’, ‘China’s Century of Revolutions: 1895-1980’, ‘Between Art and Politics: Chinese Literature from May Fourth to June Fourth’, ‘China and the World: From Mao Zedong to the Present’. ‘Chinese Language Development’ and ‘Chinese for Work’. The ‘China and the World’ module has been selected as a university-level short course commissioned by the UK Ministry of Defence (since 2014). Over the years, he has supervised numerous undergraduate BA dissertations on a wide range of topics in relation to China’s social, cultural and political transformations and international relations. He is currently leading the following modules:   

4CHIN002W The Chinese Words and World 1

6CHIN001W Themes on Contemporary Chinese Studies

6LANS006W People and Things on the Move: Identity, Place and Memory In and Across Diasporic Spaces

6PIRS020W/6PIRS021W China and the World: from Mao Zedong to the Present

Research Supervision

Cangbai Wang has supervised PhD thesis on contemporary Chinese studies and MA thesis on Intercultural Communication. He welcomes inquires about postgraduate supervision in the fields of transnational migration and Chinese diaspora, museum and cultural heritage, social and cultural transformations of China/Asia.   

Completed project: 

Denise Kwan, PhD thesis, ‘The talking of objects: migratory experiences, subjectivity and representation of Chinese women in the UK’, 2016-2020 (Director of Studies).

He is currently supervising:

Xiao Ma, PhD thesis, 'London Chinatown: heritage making and Chinese diasporic identities', 2020-2024 (Director of Studies)

Shengkang Fu, PhD thesis, 'Place making in Chinese cities: public art and community engagement', 2020-2024.(second supervisor)

External Examination

External examiner of PhD dissertations for Durham University and University of Leeds; external examiner of Mst dissertation, Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge; and external examiner of MA and PhD dissertations for Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.

External examiner of BA and MA Chinese Studies courses for School of Asian Studies, University College Cork, Ireland, 2015-2019.

External examiner of BA Chinese studies course for Faculty of Art, Culture and Education, the University of Hull, 2020-2024. 


Cangbai Wang has a longstanding interest in the study of transnational migration and Chinese diaspora. His earlier research focused on return migration to China, the Indonesian-Chinese communities in Hong Kong and the postcolonial border-crossing of professional migrants to global Hong Kong. He is the author of Life is Elsewhere: Stories of the Indonesian Chinese in Hong Kong (2006) and peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Journal of International Migration and Integration, Asian Population Studies, Asia Pacific Viewpoint, Sociological Studies and The Journal of Diasporic Chinese Studies. Building upon his research on migration and inspired by the burgeoning critical heritage studies, he has recently extended his research to migration-related museum, heritage and memory studies. His works on diasporic heritage have been published on journals such as International Journal of Heritage Studies, China Information and Modern China.

In 2014, Cangbai Wang founded HOMELandS (Hub of Migration, Exiles, Languages and Spaces), a cross-faculty research centre that is aimed at promoting theoretically-informed, interdisciplinary-oriented and language-based study of migration and diaspora. Based at School of Humanities, it has brought together colleagues who are interested in the study of migration and culture in the university and beyond through organising workshops, seminars and conferences. A special issue on migration and materiality edited by Cangbai Wang with the contributions from HOMELandS members was published in Modern Languages Open (2016). The most recent research event he organised is HOMELandS Symposium 'Bridging Borders, Creating Spaces: Negotiating Multicultural Identities and Belongings among Migrant Communities in Global London. University of Westminster, 28 June, 2018.

Funded Research Projects

'China in Uzbekistan: An Investigation into the Effects of BRI on Trade, Migration and Chinese Language Education', WIUT-UOW Research Collaboration Funded Project, £9,710, 2019-2020. (Co-investigator)

'Remapping the Cultural and Linguistic Landscape of the Chinese in Britain', funded by Language Acts and Worldmaking Small Grants Scheme,  AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI), £1,500, 2018-2019. (Principle Investigator)

Partner Researcher, ‘Research on the Public Policies on Migration, Multiculturalisation and Welfare for the Regeneration of Communities in European, Asian and Japanese Societies’, Core-to-Core Program hosted by Kobe University and funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, 2016-2020.

‘Theories and Practices of Chinese Diasporic Cultural Heritage: New Perspectives and New Methods’, funded by All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, PRC, RMB¥60,000, 2013-2015. (Principal Investigator)

‘Diasporic Chinese Heritage and Museums in the PRC’, funded by Universities' China Committee in London (UCCL), £1,500, 2013. (Principal Investigator)

‘Cultural Heritage in China; Changing Trajectories, Changing Tasks’, funded by Co-ordination of Research between Europe and China (Co-reach), 2009-2011. (Co-investigator)

‘Locating Hong Kong in the Global Network of Professional Migrants’, funded by Hong Kong Research Grant Council, HK$ 771,844, 2007-2009. (Coordinator)

‘Strategic Research Theme on Social and Public Policy’, funded by Seed Fund for Strategic Research Themes, University of Hong Kong, HK$ 999,774, 2005-2007. (Co-convener)  

‘Chinese Diaspora in the Making of China’s Hong Kong’, funded by Small Project Funding, University of Hong Kong, HK$ 53,882, 2004-2006. (Principal Investigator)

‘A Comparative Study of Hong Kong and Selected Cities in Mainland China in Attracting Professionals and Talents’, Central Policy Unit of Hong Kong SAR Government, HK$ 439,059, 2004-2005. (Coordinator)

‘Life Stories of the Indonesian Chinese in Hong Kong’, funded by Hang Seng Bank Golden Jubilee Education Fund for Research, HK$ 30,000, 2003-2004. (Principal Investigator)

Invited Talks/Conference Papers

‘Postcolonial heritage and nation-building: A new look at Tan Kah Kee’s museum practice from a transnational perspective’, SG200 Conference: Heritage, Identity, Progress, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 18-19 October 2019.

‘Desiring homeland: the return of the Indonesian-Chinese women to Maoist China' (co-authored with Huang Jing), the 5th Biannual International Symposium on Transnational Migration and Qiaoxiang Studies, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China, 7-11 December, 2018.

<散居记忆、建筑遗产和跨国认同:以印尼归侨为例的研究‘ (Diasporic memories, architecture heritage and transnational identities), Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 27 August 2018.

‘Re-imagining China through the Overseas Chinese museums’, Social and Cultural Anthropology Colloquium, Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich, Switzerland, 24 October 2017. 

‘Cultural heritage and the re-making of a qiaoxiang in South China’, The Modernisation of Social Governance: New Treads and New Responses, China Institute, SOAS, London, 18-19 September, 2017.

‘Ambivalent heritage: the im/possibility of using diasporic heritage in South China’, the 4th Biannual International Symposium on Transnational Migration and Qiaoxiang Studies, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China, 10-12 December, 2016.

‘How do emigrants adapt themselves to the local culture?’, panel discussion at the Kick-Off Symposium for Research on Public Policies on Migration, Multiculturalisation and Welfare for the Regeneration of Communities in European, Asian and Japanese Societies, Kobe University, Japan, 22-23 October, 2016.

‘The material turn in migration studies’, Mobility in Contemporary China: Imaginaries, technologies and power workshop, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany, 29-30 September, 2016.

<物质文化:华人研究的新视角> (Material culture:a new perspective in the study of Chinese Overseas), 华侨博物馆与华侨华人研究国际学术研讨会 International Conference on the Overseas Chinese Museums and the Study of Chinese Overseas, Overseas Chinese History Museum of China and Peking University, Beijing, China, 28-29, November 2015.

‘Heritage theatre: diasporic heritage, city-branding and place-making in South China’, Cultural Heritage in China: Contested Understandings, Images and Practices. Lund University, Sweden 17-18 June, 2015.

‘Guiqiao as political subjects in the making of the People's Republic of China 1949-1979’, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge, 6 November 2013.

‘Return migration and cultural heritage in China’, The China Institute of Overseas Chinese History Studies, Beijing, China, 26 July 2013.

Other Research Activities

Organiser, 'Theorising and doing British Chinese heritage: a dialogical approach', a session at the ACHS 2020 FUTURES Association of Critical Heritage Studies 5th Biennial Conference, UCL, London, 26-30 August 2020.

Organiser, Remapping the Cultural and Linguistic Landscape of the Chinese in Britain Conference, supported by Language Acts and World Making Small Grant Scheme, AHRC Open World Research Initiative (OWRI)University of Westminster, 15 February 2020.

Co-organiser (with Terry Lamb), 'Cultural Diversity, Migration Integration and Youth Action: New Perspectives and Innovative Practices'. A public event organised by Home Away from Home in partnership with HOMELandS, University of Westminster, 3 July, 2019.

Co-organiser (in collaboration with Wuyi University, China and Nagasaki University, Japan), the 5th Biannual International Symposium on Transnational Migration and Qiaoxiang Studies, Wuyi University, Jiangmen, China, 7-11 December, 2018.

Co-organiser (in collaboration with The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tsinghua University), International Conference on Belt and Road Initiative: New Insights from the Perspective of Transnational Chinese Migration, University of Westminster, 2-3 August, 2018.

Organiser, HOMELandS Symposium ' Bridging Borders, Creating Spaces: Negotiating Multicultural Identities and Belongings among Migrant Communities in Global London', University of Westminster, 28 June, 2018.

Convenor, HOMElandS Workshop ‘Visualising Diaspora’, University of Westminster, 4 November, 2015. 

Convenor, HOMELandS Workshop ‘The Material Turn in Migration Studies: Memory, Emotion and Identity in and across Diasporic Worlds’, University of Westminster, London, UK, 12 June, 2014.

External Engagement

Co-editor, Routledge Research on Museums and Heritage in Asia.

Member of international editorial board, Chinese Overseas Review (海外华人研究期刊), since 2020.

(Honorary) board member, China Association of Overseas Chinese History Studies, since 2016.

Member, the UKRI FLF Peer Review College

Article manuscript reviewer for International Journal of Heritage StudiesModern ChinaJournal of Contemporary Asia, Asian Studies Review, Population, Space and Place, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, International Journal of Migration and Integration, Social and Cultural Geography, Geopolitics, Gender, Place and Culture, Geoforum, Journal of Chinese Overseas, China and Asia, Applied Linguistic Review and《华侨华人历史研究》

Book review editor, Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 2007-2009.


For details of all my research outputs, visit my WestminsterResearch profile.