Re-Worlding Chinese Transnationalisms: An International Symposium

The University of Melbourne, June 2 – June 4, 2020
Co-convened by A/Prof Fran Martin (Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne) and Prof Wanning Sun (Media and Communication Studies, University of Technology Sydney)
Project officer: Ms Nonie May (University of Melbourne)

Keynote speakers:
Aihwa Ong, Professor and Robert H. Lowie Distinguished Chair in Anthropology, and Chair of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, U.C. Berkeley;
Pál Nyíri, Professor of Global History from an Anthropological Perspective, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Confirmed participants:
Julie Y. Chu, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Social Sciences, University of Chicago
Ari N. (Larissa) Heinrich, Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, Comparative Literature, and Cultural Studies, U.C. San Diego
Michael Keane, Professor of Media, Creative Arts and Social Enquiry, Curtin University
Dallas Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney
Alexandra Wong, Engaged Research Fellow, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University
Brian Yecies, Associate Professor of Arts, English and Media, University of Wollongong
Haiqing Yu, Associate Professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Principal Research Fellow in Media and Communication, RMIT University
Weiyu Zhang, Associate Professor of Communication and New Media, National University of Singapore

Event outline and call for papers:
In the final decade of the twentieth century, along with intensifying cross-border movements of capital, people, and media attendant on the rise of the Asia-Pacific regional economy, Chinese transnationalism became a focus of study across a range of disciplines. Researchers addressed evolving phenomena including the geographies and politics of Chinese migration and diasporas; the transnationalization of Chinese families, religions, business, and education; the rise of Chinese Internet worlds; the histories of transnational Chinese cinema and transnational imaginaries in contemporary Chinese-language media; and the characteristics of a transnational Sinophone cultural sphere that was understood as both peripheral to and divergent from the type of Chinese identity promoted by the PRC state.

Twenty-five years after the emergence of the conceptual rubric of Chinese transnationalism, the human and cultural mobilities that inspired it have both intensified and transformed as the economic, political, and military “rise of China” decisively reshapes global geopolitics. The time is ripe to revisit the cultural politics of Chinese transnationalisms. What forms do transnational movements of Chinese media, people and culture take in today’s world? How are these mobilities transformed by the growing global power of the PRC? What does it mean to think, live, feel, and imagine Chinese transnationalisms in the context of President Xi’s promotion of the “Chinese dream,” economists’ recognition of the present time as the “Chinese century,” and unease about “Chinese influence” on the part of western governments, security agencies, and media? Re-Worlding Chinese Transnationalisms will address these questions.

We are particularly interested in ethnographic, affective and representational studies by scholars working in the humanities and social sciences, especially cultural studies, anthropology, media studies, cultural geography, and sociology. The central topic may be approached with reference to a number of subthemes, which could include:

- Modern histories of Chinese transnationalism
- Migration, diaspora, and flexible citizenship
- Transnational Chinese-language media
- “Minor” Chineseness: Sinophone worlds today
- Human mobility, place, and translocality
- Transforming practices of family, gender, and sexuality
- Discourses of race and formations of racism
- Transnational movements affecting labour and workplace cultures
- Transnational traffics in religion, art, creative industries and education.

The symposium will run over two full days in a single stream. It will take the form of a small, focussed, highly interactive research workshop rather than a conventional conference, with discussants assigned and papers pre-circulated to attendants.

Submission procedure and timeline
To apply to present at the symposium, please send a paper abstract (200-300 words) and bio (150 words) to Nonie May (nonie.may[at]unimelb.edu.au) by November 10, 2019. Applicants will be advised of whether their papers have been accepted by December 10, 2019.
Attendance at the symposium is also open to a limited number of non-presenters. General registration for the event will be opened after the program is finalized in late December 2019.
Keynote presentations are open to the public, and registration for these will also be opened in late December 2019.

Financial subsidy to offset travel costs will be available by competitive application to a limited number of postgraduate students and early-career researchers (within 5 years of PhD award) from Australia and overseas. To apply for the subsidy, please include with your application a statement of your current postgraduate student status or the date on which your PhD was conferred, together with a basic budget outlining your projected travel expenses to attend the symposium (airfares and accommodation costs).

For those accepted, full papers (5,000––7,000 words) will need to be submitted for pre-circulation to attendants by April 30, 2020.

This event is supported by funding from the Australian Research Council and the University of Melbourne, with additional support from the University of Technology Sydney.

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