Call for Papers: Re-Envisioning Gender in China

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Call for Papers

Re-Envisioning Gender in China

Second conference of the China Academic Network on Gender

14-16th February 2019

Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium


How do we re-envision gender in China? Conversely, how does gender allow us to re-envision China? Following feminist theorist bell hooks’ impetus that “There is power in looking” and probing “a critical gaze, one that “looks” to document, one that is oppositional”[1], the second conference of the China Academic Network on Gender (CHANGE) seeks to examine what new dynamics and power relations are transmitted, focused, defocused or blurred when gender is used as the prism to examine Chinese society and cultural practices.

Interdisciplinary at heart, the conference looks to articulate issues of gender in representation and spectatorship in the humanities and social sciences. What do such analyses reveal about the assumptions and narratives of voyeurism, gender-blindness, or masculine/feminine gazes? How are minorities (including sexual minorities) looked through or looked down upon? How do feminist and queer filmmakers seize gender as lens in the literal sense? What about deliberate blurring practices of gender boundaries? How does re-envisioning gender allow us to look ‘against the grain’ at canonical texts, or to explore transgressive representations beyond ‘Chineseness’ and gender binaries?

This conference aims to bring together doctoral, postdoctoral and early career researchers working on gender and China. We welcome applications from a broad range of disciplines including but not limited to: gender studies, media studies, cultural studies, film studies, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, queer studies. The conference is particularly interested in individual contributions that contrast various approaches within gender studies at large and the cross-fertilisation that those lenses can bring.

We particularly encourage papers in the following subject areas:

  • Uses of visual metaphors and links between the visual and non-visual
  • Analyses of visual media, including photography, cartoon, and film
  • Political uses of visual material as it relates to bodies, including propaganda
  • Representations of the LGBT+ community in media
  • Re-imagining bodies in visual imagery
  • Objectification and gendered gazes
  • Invisibilizing of marginalised groups
  • Mystical and religious visions of sex and sexuality
  • (Di-)visions of labour predicated on gender difference
  • Images and self-narratives that challenge and/or negotiate hierarchies of gender as forms of resistance

During the workshop participants will be encouraged to frame their own work in discussion with other researchers’ papers. They will also have the chance to gain feedback on their research from leading scholars in the field who will act as discussants in each panel session.

Outstanding papers will be selected for publication in a special issue of China Perspectives/Perspectives chinoises, a double-blind peer reviewed journal indexed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (Web of Science), as well as in 8 international databases (including SCOPUS).

Participants will also have the opportunity to enjoy the conference with a film screening related to the conference topic in the evening. Conceived as a inclusive space for dialogue between young researchers and established scholars, we hope the conference will also be an opportunity to envision the future development of this field of research and the growth of academic network of solidarities.

Participating scholars

The keynote speaker, Prof. Gail Hershatter (UC Santa Cruz), is a historian of modern China, the author of several books on gender in twentieth-century China, including The Gender of Memory (UC Press, 2011) and Dangerous Pleasures (UC Press, 1997). Prof. Pierre Kaser (Aix-Marseille University), who specialises in ancient Chinese literature, Chinese history, literary translation and methodology, will present his latest research. Dr Derek Hird (Lancaster University), who has done extensive research on Chinese men and masculinities in China and the UK, will also share his research. Dr Jennifer Altehenger (KCL), Prof. Vanessa Frangville (ULB), Dr Jieyu Liu (SOAS) and Prof. David Paternotte (ULB) will also participate as panel discussants.

Practical information

Please send a 250 word abstract to:, including your full name, institutional affiliation, email address and a short bio before 31 October 2018. Applicants will be notified of the outcome before 30 November 2018, and successful applicants will need to submit full papers two weeks prior to the conference (1 February 2019) if they wish to be considered for publication in China Perspectives/Perspectives chinoises. For further information, please contact the workshop committee at the above email address.

This is the second in a series of CHANGE biannual conferences. For more information on the previous one in London, please visit


— Deadline for abstracts: 31 October 2018

— Notification for acceptance:  30 November 2018

— Deadline for first drafts of articles: 1 February 2019

— Conference: 14-16 February 2019

— Feedback from guest editors: March 2019

— Deadline for submitting final versions of articles: summer 2019

— Previsional date of publication: spring 2020


China Academic Network on Gender & l’Université libre de Bruxelles


Jennifer Bond (Durham University), Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen), Coraline Jortay (ULB).

Contact email


[1] hooks, bell. “The oppositional gaze: Black female spectators.” The feminism and visual cultural reader (2003): 94-105, pp. 94-95.

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