Villanova Sociology and Criminology Professor Wins Distinguished Book Award

Book cover of, "Time and Migration: How Long-Term Taiwanese Migrants Negotiate Later Life"

Villanova, Pa – Ken Chih-Yan Sun, PhD, associate professor of Sociology and Criminology at Villanova University, won the 2023 Outstanding Publication Award by the American Sociological Association (ASA) Section on Aging and the Life Course for his first book, Time and Migration: How Long-Term Taiwanese Migrants Negotiate Later Life (2021). This award is presented annually and recognizes exceptional contributions to the field of sociology of aging and the life course.

In Time and Migration, Dr. Sun delves into the complex interactions between time, place and the experiences of older immigrants in the United States. Dr. Sun's extensive research offers insights into the challenges and transformations migrants face over time in their adopted country.

Reflecting on his initial expectations for the book, Dr. Sun assumed he would encounter intergenerational conflicts in immigrant families. However, he was surprised to learn that many respondents were adapting to what they perceived as the American cultural landscape. This led Dr. Sun to understand that "becoming American" is an ongoing journey for his respondents, who have spent significant portions of their lives living, working and raising families in the US.

Seeking to drive change in the field of sociology, Dr. Sun hopes Time and Migration will inspire fellow scholars to integrate time into their analyses of immigration. Additionally, his research explores the evolving connections between long-term immigrants and their homelands, which may have transformed since their departure. “Addressing these matters helps us focus on time/temporalities in the studies of immigration, the life course and social inequalities,” says Dr. Sun.

Book cover of, "Transnational Social Protection: Social Welfare Across National Borders"

In addition to Time and Migration, Dr. Sun recently co-authored the book, Transnational Social Protection: Social Welfare Across National Borders (2023), with colleagues Peggy Levitt, PhD; Erica Dobbs, PhD; and Ruxandra Paul, PhD. The authors reexamine the notion that social rights are solely determined by an individual's place of residence or citizenship. “We propose a new approach to considering and conceptualizing social protection and precarity in a transnational setting,” explains Dr. Sun. They consider the realities faced by individuals who live, work, study or retire outside their countries of citizenship and explore the impact on their access to crucial services such as healthcare, education and elder care. The book makes an important contribution to sociology by using case studies and empirical data to illustrate the complexities migrants and their families must navigate to obtain these securities.

Dr. Sun earned both his master’s degree in Sociology and Women’s and Gender Studies and his doctorate in Sociology from Brandeis University. With a passion for exploring migration, families, inequalities, globalization and social protection, he teaches several courses at Villanova including Sociology of Immigration and Social Psychology and Inequality. Dr. Sun continues to publish his work in academic journals such as American Behavioral Scientist, Social Problems, Global Networks and Qualitative Sociology, among others.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenging and changing world. With more than 40 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.