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Prof. dr. W.H.M. (Maggi) Leung

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
GPIO : Governance and Inclusive Development
Photographer: Hannes Bläser

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
  • Room number: B4.07
Postal address
  • Postbus 15629
    1001 NC Amsterdam
Social media
  • Profile

    Maggi Leung is a geographer and migration scholar by training. Her research aims to account for the prevailing uneven socio-spatial impact of the flows that define our interconnected world. Maggi endeavours to produce insights that contribute to more just and sustainable futures. Working with multi-scalar (from the global to the body), intersectional and translocal perspectives, her main research interests are: opportunities and challenges of migration, with a focus on related injustice; internationalisation of education and knowledge mobilities; and Chinese transnationalism and impact on global development. 

    Maggi was born and raised in Hong Kong. She completed her higher education in the USA (BA at Dartmouth College and MA at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities), and obtained her doctorate in Human Geography at Bremen University (Germany) in 2002. Maggi began her academic career as a lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2002-2006) and the University of Hong Kong (2007-2010). Between these two appointments, she was affiliated with the University of Bonn as Humboldt Research Fellow. She took up, end of 2010, the post of Assistant Professor in International Development Studies at the Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning of Utrecht University, where she worked as Associate Professor between 2011 to 2021.

    Maggi has extensive experience in fieldwork-based research in Asia (Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Vietnam), Africa (Ethiopia and Zambia) and Europe (Germany, the Netherlands and the UK). She has conducted research across the urban-rural continuum. While the city remains her study focus, much of her recent work examines development challenges and opportunities in ‘shrinking’ or peripherised places.

    Maggi has broad experience in education. She has taught in different education contexts and designed many Bachelor’s and Master’s courses and programmes. Besides being a committed educator in practice, she is also engaged in education-related research and initiatives. Currently, she teaches Bachelor and Master-level courses in development geography, migration and inclusive development.

    To optimise the impact of her research, Maggi engages in co-creative, action- and solution-oriented partnerships with academic and social actors. She makes efforts in translating and disseminating research findings to diverse audiences using different media and activities.

    Maggi is one of the editors of Geoforum, and a member of the International Board of Editors of Chinese Overseas Review (Chinese language).

    She is a Steering Group member of the IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe) research cluster on Gender and Sexuality in Migration Research (GenSeM).

  • Research

    Working with transnational/translocal flow perspectives, Maggi's main research interests are:

    • Uneven geographies of migration, mobilities and development (in particular on migrant labour in the care sector, highly-skilled mobilities as well as student and academic mobilities)
    • Internationalisation of education, knowledge mobilities and activism
    • Chinese migration and transnationalism
    • Migrant investment and other engagements in “shrinking” regions in Europe
    • Stigmatisation and geographies of in/exclusion (recent focus on the context of COVID-19 pandemic)

    Current research projects:

    • ‘Investing in “Welcoming Spaces” in Europe: Revitalising shrinking areas by hosting non-EU migrants’ (2020-2024)
      Funding: European Commission Horizon 2020 (2019)
      Co-Investigator and of the Netherlands team (Project Coordinator), member of the overall Management Team with Annelies Zoomers, Bianca Szytniewski, Karin Geuijen, Marlies Meijer, and other team members from The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Italy and Poland.
    • ‘Development of a Master Degree programme: Democratic Governance and Human Rights (Demos)’ (2020-2022)
      Funding: Erasmus+ Key Action2 ‘Capacity Building in the field of Higher Education’ (2019)
      Co-Investigator, leader of the Netherlands (University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University) team (with Gery Nijenhuis). With colleagues from Greece, Lebanon, Morocco (Project Coordinator), Spain and Tunisia.
    • 'VISION – Envisioning Convivial Europe' (2022-2025)
      Funding: Volkswagen Foundation
      PI of NL team, with Magdalena Nowicka at DeZim, Kyoko Shinozaki at Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg and Bianca Szytniewski Utrecht University.
    • 'Navigating and making urban physical and digital spaces in the Covid‐19 pandemic"' (2022-2023)
      Funding: Seed grant, Centre for Urban Studies, The University of Amsterdam 
      PI, with Emiel Martens (Department of Media Studies, UvA), Özge Bilgili (Interdisciplinary Social Science (Social and Behavioural Sciences , Utrecht University).
  • Publications


    • Amer, A., & Leung, M. (2023). Not-so-subtle subtleties: Undocumented migrant (in)visibility, (im)mobility and Dutch public spaces as sites of embodied racialization. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 49(15), 3940-3957.
    • Bilgili, Ö., Leung, M. W. H., & Malinen, K. (2023). New Perspectives on Migrant Transnationalism in the Pandemic Era. In L. Lerpold, Ö. Sjöberg, & K. Wennberg (Eds.), Migration and Integration in a Post-Pandemic World: Socioeconomic Opportunities and Challenges (pp. 83-105). Palgrave Macmillan. [details]
    • Hao, Y., & Leung, M. W. H. (2023). Wandering at the crossroads: gendered mobility aspirations in the study-to-work transition of Chinese graduates of Dutch universities. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 46(14), 3123-3144. [details]
    • Moralli, M., Pachocka, M., & Leung, M. W. H. (2023). “Welcoming Spaces”: Migration and New Communities in Marginalised Regions. Journal of International Migration and Integration, 24(Suppl. 5), 823-838. [details]
    • Waters, J. L., & Leung, M. W. H. (2023). Cross-Border Mobility for Schooling: The Case of Shenzhen-Hong Kong. In J. Wyn, H. Cahill, & H. Cuervo (Eds.), Handbook of Children and Youth Studies (Living ed.). Springer. Advance online publication. [details]


    • Anjel-van Dijk, L., & Leung, W. H. M. (2022). Scholars in exile in the Netherlands: Opportunities and challenges. In V. Axyonova , F. Kohstall, & C. Richter (Eds.), Academics in Exile: Networks, knowledge exchange and new venues for internationalization in academia (pp. 123-140). (The Academy in Exile Book Series). Transcript .
    • Anjel-van Dijk, L., & Leung, W. H. M. (2022). Scholars in exile in the Netherlands: When humanitarian support encounters neoliberal reform practices. In V. Axyonova, F. Kohstall, & C. Richter (Eds.), Academics in Exile: Networks, Knowledge Exchange and New Forms of Internationalization (pp. 123-140). (The Academy in Exile Book Series; Vol. 2). transcript.
    • Gebru, K. M., Rammelt, C., & Leung, M. (2022). Paradoxes of Inclusion: Adverse Effects of Inclusive Interventions in Northern Ethiopia. European Journal of Development Research, 34(5), 2324–2345. [details]
    • Leung, M. W. H. (2022). Covid-19 Care Circuits: the Chinese Transnational State, Its Diaspora, and Beyond. China Perspectives, 2022(4), 29-37. [details]
    • Leung, M. W. H., & Waters, J. L. (2022). Bridging home and school in cross-border education: the role of intermediary spaces in the in/exclusion of Mainland Chinese students and their families in Hong Kong. Urban Studies, 59(16), 3271–3291. [details]
    • Leung, M. W. H., & Waters, J. L. (2022). Making ways for ‘better education’: Placing the Shenzhen-Hong Kong mobility industry. Urban Studies, 59(11), 2313-2332. Advance online publication.
    • Qin, Y., & Liang, H. (2022). Yi ri shuang cheng: Shen Gang liu dong zhong de kua jing mu zhi. 妇女研究论丛 = Journal of Chinese women's studies, 2022(3 (171)), 36-57. [details]
    • Theo, R., & Leung, W. H. M. (2022). Redefining precarity through knowledge production: The experience of the Indonesians 1965 exiles. In V. Axyonova, F. Kohstall, & C. Richter (Eds.), Academics in Exile: Networks, Knowledge Exchange and New Forms of Internationalization (pp. 59-78). (The Academy in Exile Book Series; Vol. 2). transcript. [details]
    • Waters, J. L., & Leung, W. H. M. (2022). Children's Bodies Are Not Capital: Arduous Cross-Border Mobilities between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Positions, 30(2), 353-375. [details]
    • Waters, J., & Leung, M. W. H. (2022). Transnational higher education. In B. S. A. Yeoh, & F. L. Collins (Eds.), Handbook on Transnationalism (pp. 230-245). Edward Elgar.


    • Gebru, K. M., Rammelt, C., Leung, M., Zoomers, A., & van Westen, G. (2021). The commodification of social relationships in agriculture: Evidence from northern Ethiopia. Geoforum, 126, 350-360. [details]
    • Leung, M. W. H., Waters, J. L., & Ki, Y. (2021). Schools as spaces for in/exclusion of young Mainland Chinese students and families in Hong Kong. Comparative Migration Studies, 9, Article 58.
    • Nijenhuis, G., Leung, M., Coenders, M., & Winters, N. (2021). Rethinking knowledge and skills in migration: A spatial–temporal perspective. Population Space and Place, 27(5), Article e2450.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, M. (2021). Geographies of education: Cross-border schooling between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Geography, 160(2), 60-65. Advance online publication.
    • Zoomers, A., Leung, M., Otsuki, K., & van Westen, G. (Eds.) (2021). Handbook on Translocal Development and Global Mobilities. Edward Elgar. Advance online publication.


    • Waters, J., & Leung, W. H. M. (2020). Rhythms, flows and structures of cross-boundary schooling: state power and educational mobilities between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Population Space and Place, 26(3), Article e2298.


    • Gebru, K. M., Leung, M., Rammelt, C., Zoomers, A., & van Westen, G. (2019). Vegetable Business and Smallholders’ Food Security: Empirical Findings from Northern Ethiopia. Sustainability, 11(3), Article 743. [details]
    • Gebru, K. M., Rammelt, C., Leung, M., Zoomers, A., & van Westen, G. (2019). Inclusive malt barley business and household food security in Lay Gayint district of northern Ethiopia. Food Security, 11(4), 953-966. [details]
    • Sin, I. L., Leung, W. H. M., & Waters, J. (2019). Degrees of value: comparing the contextual complexities of UK transnational education in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Compare, 49(1), 132-148. Advance online publication.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, W. H. M. (2019). South-South Cooperation through education? In E. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, & P. Daley (Eds.), The example of China with/in Africa (pp. 370-379). (Routledge handbooks). Routledge.


    • Kesper-Biermann, S., Leung, W. H. M., Nethi, V., & Somalingam, T. (2018). Transnational education: teaching and learning across borders: An introduction. Transnational Social Review, 8(2), 116-123.
    • Leung, M., & Theo, R. (2018). Academic mobility and identities: Stories from (ethnic) Chinese students and scholars en route. In Trajectories and Imaginaries in Migration (pp. 182-199). Routledge.
    • Rammelt, C. F., Leung, M., & Gebru, K. M. (2018). The Exclusive Nature of Inclusive Productive Employment in the Rural Areas of Northern Ethiopia. Work, Employment and Society, 32(6), 1044-1060. [details]
    • Schumacher, P., & Leung, W. H. M. (2018). Knowledge (im)mobility through mirco-level interactions: An analysis of the communication process in Chinese-Zambian medical cooperation. Transnational Social Review, 8(1), 64-78.
    • Theo, R., & Leung, M. W. H. (2018). China’s Confucius Institute in Indonesia: Mobility, frictions and local surprises. Sustainability, 10(2), Article 530.


    • Leung, W. H. M. (2017). Social mobility via academic mobility: Reconfigurations in class and gender identities among Asian scholars in the global north. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(16), 2704-2719.
    • Leung, W. H. M., & Waters, J. (2017). Educators sans frontières? Borders and power geometries in transnational education. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43(8), 1276-1291.
    • Nijenhuis, G., & Leung, M. (2017). Rethinking Migration in the 2030 Agenda: Towards a De-Territorialized Conceptualization of Development. Forum for Development Studies, 44(1), 51-68.
    • Rammelt, C. F., & Leung, M. W. H. (2017). Tracing the Causal Loops Through Local Perceptions of Rural Road Impacts in Ethiopia. World Development, 95, 1-14. [details]
    • Rammelt, C. F., van Schie, M., Nega Tegabu, F., & Leung, M. (2017). Vaguely right or exactly wrong: Measuring the (spatial) distribution of land resources, income and wealth in rural Ethiopia. Sustainability (Switzerland), 9(6), Article 962. [details]
    • Waters, J., & Leung, W. H. M. (2017). Domesticating transnational education: discourses of social value, self-worth and the institutionalisation of failure in ‘meritocratic’ Hong Kong. Transactions - Institute of British Geographers, 42(2), 233-245.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, W. H. M. (2017). Trans-knowledge? Geography, mobility and knowledge in transnational education. In H. Jöns, P. Meusburger, & M. Heffernan (Eds.), Mobilities of Knowledge (pp. 269-285). (Knowledge and Space). Springer.
    • van Noorloos, F., & Leung, W. H. M. (2017). Circulating Asian Urbanisms. In E. Woertz (Ed.), An Analysis of Policy and Media Discourse in Africa and Latin America (pp. 125-142). (Europa Regional Perspectives). Routledge.


    • Leung, W. H. M. (2016). 'One Country, Two Systems', 'one city, two systems': Citizenship as a stage for politics of mobility and bordering practices in Hong Kong. Migration Letters, 13(1), 49-63.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, W. H. M. (2016). Immobile Transnationalisms? Young People and Their in situ Experiences of ‘International’ Education in Hong Kong. In T. Bunnell, M. Hayden, & J. Thompson (Eds.), International Education SAGE.
    • Zoomers, A., Leung, M., & Westen, G. V. (2016). Local Development in the Context of Global Migration and the Global Land Rush: The Need for a Conceptual Update. Geography Compass, 10(2), 56-66.


    • Leung, M. W. H. (2015). "Talk to Her, She is also Chinese": A Reflection on the Spatial-Temporal Reach of Co-Ethnicity in Migration Research. Forum, qualitative social research, 16(2).
    • Leung, M. W. H. (2015). Engaging a temporal-spatial stretch: An inquiry into the role of the state in cultivating and claiming the Chinese knowledge diaspora. Geoforum, 59, 187-196.
    • Leung, M. W. H. (2015). Thresholds in academic mobility: The China story. In T. van Naerssen, & M. van der Velde (Eds.), Mobility and Migration Choices (pp. 55-69). Ashgate.


    • Leung, M. W. H. (2014). Unsettling the yin-yang harmony: An analysis of gender inequalities in academic mobility among Chinese scholars. Asian and Pacific Migration Journal, 23(2), 155-182.
    • Leung, M. W. H. (2014). ‘Academic Mobility for Development’ as A Contested Notion: An Analysis of the Reach of the Chinese State in Regulating the Transnational Brains. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 105(5), 558-572.
    • Nijenhuis, G., & Leung, M. W. H. (2014). Introduction to the Dossier: Institutions and Skilled Mobility. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 105(5), 507-510.
    • Nijenhuis, G., & Leung, M. W. H. (Eds.) (2014). Institutions and skilled mobility. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 105(5), 507-638.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, M. W. H. (2014). ‘These are not the best students’: Continuing education, transnationalisation and Hong Kong’s young adult ‘educational non-elite. Children's Geographies, 12(1), 56-69.


    • Leung, M. W. H. (2013). 'Read ten thousand books, walk ten thousand miles': geographical mobility and capital accumulation among Chinese scholars. Transactions - Institute of British Geographers, 38(2), 311-324.
    • Leung, M. W. H. (2013). Unraveling the skilled mobility for sustainable development mantra: An analysis of China-EU academic mobility. Sustainability, 5(6), 2644-2663.
    • Leung, M. W. H., & Waters, J. (2013). British degrees made in Hong Kong: An inquiry into the role of space and place in transnational education. Asia Pacific Education Review, 14(1), 43-53.
    • Leung, M. W. H., & Waters, J. L. (2013). Transnational higher education for capacity development? An analysis of British degree programmes in Hong Kong. Globalisation, Societies and Education, 11(4), 479-497.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, M. (2013). A colourful university life? Transnational higher education and the spatial dimensions of institutional social capital in Hong Kong. Population Space and Place, 19(2), 155-167.
    • Waters, J., & Leung, M. W. H. (2013). Immobile transnationalisms? Young people and their in situ Experiences of “international’ education in Hong Kong. Urban Studies, 50(3), 606-620.
    • Zoomers, E. B. (Guest ed.), & Leung, W. H. M. (Guest ed.) (2013). International Migration and Sustainable Development: Globalization, Move-In Move-Out Migration and Translocal Development. Sustainability.


    • Waters, J., & Leung, M. W. H. (2012). Young people and the reproduction of disadvantage through transnational higher education in Hong Kong. Sociological Research Online, 17(3), 239-246.


    • Leung, M. W. H. (2011). David Ley, Millionaire Migrants: Trans-Pacific Life Lines (2010). Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 37(9), 1551-1552.
    • Leung, M. W. H. (2011). Of corridors and chains: translocal developmental impact of academic mobility between China and Germany. International Development Planning Review, 33(4), 475-489.


    • Leung, M. W. H. (2010). Re-charting the 'Sinosphere' and 'Eurosphere': A study of Chinese migrant entrepreneurs as agencies in shaping 'Chineseness' and 'Europeanness'. In Economic Dynamism in the Sinospheres and Anglospeheres: Identities, Integration, Competition Center of Asian Studies, The University of Hong Kong.


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  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities