Re-Worlding Chinese Transnationalisms: An International Symposium

Online, August 26 – August 27 2021
Convened by A/Prof Fran Martin (Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne)
Project officer: Dr Nonie May (University of Melbourne)

Keynote speakers:
Pál Nyíri, Professor of Global History from an Anthropological Perspective, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Ngai Pun, Professor in the Department of Sociology, University of Hong Kong

Confirmed participants:
Ari N. (Larissa) Heinrich, Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, Comparative Literature, and Cultural Studies, U.C. San Diego
Dallas Rogers, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney
Wanning Sun (Media and Communication Studies, University of Technology 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:
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, including:

- 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 online over two half 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.

Delegates will need to submit full papers (5,000––7,000 words) for pre-circulation to attendants by July 30, 2021.

Presenters will also need to pre-record a video discussion/ presentation of their paper (15-20 minutes), which we will upload and circulate online in the lead up to the event. We will need to receive the videos by that same July 30 deadline.

We hope that by pre-recording papers we can avoid some common technical difficulties, and in doing so ensure that the focus in each panel is on the interactive workshopping of research and ideas.

The panels will then be followed by the two keynote presentations from Professor Pál Nyíri and Professor Ngai Pun. Each keynote will be delivered online, and will be open to the public.

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.

To register your interest to attend this online symposium, please email:

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