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The Case of China's Email-Order Brides


This dissertation explores the connection between China's rapid socio-economic change in the past thirty years and new patterns of dating, marriage, and migration that have emerged. Specifically, I examine the phenomenon of internet-mediated, commercially arranged cross-border marriage between women from China and men from English-speaking Western countries such as the U.S. or Canada. I analyze why Chinese women seek foreign husbands (despite China's 34 million male-female gender gap) and how their marriage brokers facilitate their courtship. The couples in my study do not speak each other's language and rely on translators at their dating agencies to facilitate their email exchanges, online instant messaging, and web-cam meetings for months before they meet in person. I explore the commodification of intimacy in China's post-reform era and examine its effect on race, class, and gender across cultural and geographical borders.

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