Dr Eona Bell works on the anthropology of family life, parenting and childhood within overseas Chinese communities, particularly in the UK. Her doctoral research focused on Hong Kong Chinese families working in the restaurant trade in Scotland. Conducting fieldwork (2006-8) in family homes, complementary schools and community centres she explored how immigrant parents navigate a path between maintaining cultural values of respect and a distinctive ethnic identity, and enabling their children to succeed academically and professionally, outside the ethnic enclave. In a new research project, Eona is interested in the experiences of Hongkonger children migrating to Britain since 2020 under the new visa scheme offered to BN(O) visa holders in Hong Kong following the introduction of the National Security Law.
Eona studied Modern and Medieval Languages as an undergraduate at Selwyn College, University of Cambridge, and later trained in Library and Information Studies before taking an MSc in the Anthropology of Learning and Cognition at the LSE (2004). Since receiving her PhD in Anthropology from the LSE in 2012, Eona has continued her academic career part-time while caring for her own children. She has contributed to two edited volumes with LSE colleagues: Ordinary Ethics in China, edited by Professor Charles Stafford (Routledge, 2013) and Cooperation in Chinese Communities: Morality and Practice edited by Charles Stafford, Ellen Judd and Eona Bell (Routledge, 2018). From 2015-16 she was a postdoctoral researcher at SOAS China Institute working under Dr Jieyu Liu on a major project researching changes in intimacy and family life in the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Eona is an Affiliated Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge where she lectures on cognitive anthropology, and the anthropology of childhood and childcare. She is currently completing a research project at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, supported by the Crowther-Beynon and Evans Funds at Cambridge University, on the ethnographic photographs and archives of British anthropologists in colonial South East Asia including Alan J.A. Elliott and Maurice Freedman who trained at the LSE in the 1940s and 50s under Raymond Firth, and the Cambridge scholar Ivor H.N. Evans.