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’. 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 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
'Global Diasporic Chinese Museums Network Initiative', funded by AHRC Research Networking Scheme, £31,350, 2023-2024 (Principal Investigator)
'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. (Principal Investigator)
‘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. (Principal Investigator)
‘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 Conference Papers/Talks
'Negotiating Diasporic Identities in Glocal Heritage Discourses', keynote speech at the First All-Mediterranean Chinese Studies Conference: Chinese Studies Beyond the Centre of Gravity, University of Malta, 1-3 February 2003.
'A Diasporic Tradition in the Development of Private Museums in Greater China', The Rise of Private Museums and Heritage in East and Southeast Asia, University of Bristol, 2-3 June 2022.
'The boom in "Overseas Chinese museums" in Post-Mao China', international conference ‘Global Chinese and China: Local Belonging and Global Interconnectivity’, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China, 10-11 April 2021.
‘Racial distancing in a time of risk and fear: A historical perspective’, paper presented (with Xiao Ma) at the ‘International Symposium: A Webinar Responses of Local Communities to Covid19: Exploring Issues of Trust in the Context of Risk and Fear’, co-organised by University of Paris and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 1-2 December 2020.
'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
Co-convenor, AHRC 'Global Diasporic Chinese Museums Network Initiative Public Talk Series', jointly organised by HOMELandS and the Chinese Heritage Centre of Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, August 2023-July 2024.
Co-convenor, Doctoral Researcher Symposium on Migration and Diaspora, jointly organised by HOMELandS and the Graduate School of University of Westminster, 19 May 2023.
Organiser, HOMELandS Dialogue: Migration and Diversity in Global London as part of the World in Westminster Festival, University of Westminster, 16 March 2022.
Co-organiser, ‘The Many Faces of Migration: An Interdisciplinary Unconference’, organised by HOMELandS in collaboration with the Research Communities of University of Westminster, 29-30 April 2021.
Convenor, ‘Museum representations of Chinese diasporas around the world: a dialogical approach’, a session at international conference ‘Global Chinese and China: Local Belonging and Global Interconnectivity', jointly organised by Jinan University, School of Humanities, University of Westminster and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, 10-11 April 2021.
Co-organiser, ‘Global Chinese and China: Local Belonging and Global Interconnectivity, an international conference organised by Jinan University, School of Humanities, University of Westminster and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, 10-11 April 2021.
Convener, ‘New perspectives and community voices on British Chinese heritage: an afternoon in London’s Chinatown’, a session jointly organised by China Exchange and HOMELandS as part of the Difference Festival, 23 February 2021.
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 Inaugural Symposium 'The Material Turn in Migration Studies: Memory, Emotion and Identity in and across Diasporic Worlds’, University of Westminster, London, UK, 12 June 2014.
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
Book review editor, Social Transformations in Chinese Societies, 2007-2009.
Article manuscript reviewer for leading international journals including Asia Pacific Viewpoint, Applied Linguistic Review, Architecture and Culture, Asian Studies Review, China Perspectives, British Journal of Chinese Studies, China and Asia, Geopolitics, Gender, Place and Culture, Geoforum, Heritage and Society, International Journal of Heritage Studies, International Journal of Migration and Integration, Identities, Journal of Chinese Overseas, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development, Journal of Heritage Tourism, Memory Studies, Modern China, Population, Space and Place, Social and Cultural Geography, and《华侨华人历史研究》
Trustee of China Exchange