Manlin Cai (she/her)

Nominated by member scholarly associations of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the 2022 Congress Graduate Merit Awards recognize exceptional graduate students who will be presenting their work at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. 

Photo of Manlin Cai, CGMA recipient


Tell us about yourself.

This is Manlin Cai, a PhD student in Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia. My primary research areas include family, gender, and immigration. 

Which scholarly association(s) are you currently a member of? 

  • The Canadian Sociological Association  
  • The American Sociological Association  

At which conference(s) will you be presenting and/or attending? 

The Annual Conference of the Canadian Sociological Association  

What is the title of your Congress 2022 presentation?  

Digital enclaves: Mate preferences and platform choices among Chinese immigrant online daters in Vancouver 

How would you describe the research you will be presenting at Congress 2022?

Drawing on interviews with 31 heterosexual Chinese immigrant online daters in Vancouver, this research examines their partner preferences and online dating platform choices. The findings show that these Chinese immigrants have a strong preference for dating Chinese. They also emphasize permanent residency status and similarity in age at arrival when evaluating potential partners. Given their preferences, they strategically choose the dating platforms they primarily use. Notably, platforms catering to Chinese users create “digital enclaves” where Chinese immigrant daters congregate. This research generates insights into relationship formation and immigrant integration in the host society. 

How does the research you will be presenting connect with the Congress 2022 theme, Transitions

Immigration brings about transitional processes of adapting to a new country, during which challenges may occur in every aspect of life. My research focused on the aspect of relationship formation to shed light on immigrant integration.

What is your favourite part of the Congress experience? 

The Congress and the Canadian Sociological Association provides a sense of community! All people I met through the conference last year are very nice and inspiring. Navigating grad school can sometimes be a difficult journey, and thus it is really great to build up a support network! 

Share your hopes for Congress 2022. 

I wish Congress 2022 all the success! All the events and conferences will inspire new ideas and conversations that advance our understanding of the changing society and promotes social equality.