Contesting Reportage–cfp

Call for Contributions: 
Contesting Reportage: New Perspectives from the Sinophone World
Edited by Charles A. Laughlin and Li Guo

This edited volume, building on the 2019 MCLC special issue “Reportage and Its Contemporary Variations,” seeks contributions in studies of literary, cinematic, theatrical, and media reportage in the Sinophone world. Reportage is “a fast and timely representation, with adequate artistic processing, of real people and real events that are drawn directly from and regarded as typical of the real life” (Yingjin Zhang 1993). Building on Charles A. Laughlin’s discussion on the “literary construction of space” in reportage, Richard Quang-Anh Tran (2020) proposes that reportages function as “active agents in the empirical production of cultural space itself,” which give voice to the socially disenfranchised, communities that are unseen and unheard. What insights do diverse frames of reference in reportage provide for our understanding of disadvantaged cultures and communities? What techniques in reportage are deployed to create a variety of tenors, modes, and socio-political valences? How do reportage writers, filmmakers, and artists, as cultural practitioners, engage and contribute to the social debates and movements of their time?

The question of “artistic processing” in reportage, further, invites studies on how reportage evokes, negotiates, and refashions poetic or artistic sensibilities to process social and political critiques. Jae Won Edward Chung (2020) observes that works of reportage across diverse forms of media profoundly reconfigure medium-specificity, intermedia reflexivity, and media-related affects. How do intermedial encounters in reportage works (literature, film, cartoon, photography, or radio) create new affective experiences, or possibilities of resistance? Do sense-usage and emotive evocations enhance the “quality” of reportage — that is, its capacity to elicit audiences’ pleasure or empathetic imaginations and its dexterity to convey information through stylized expressions? What narrative or artistic strategies or techniques do reportage authors use to speak truths, and how do different media impact the authors’ ethical responsibilities? How do reportage narratives, film, art, and performance record, inspire, and respond to citizen movements in Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and other Sinophone cultures?

This volume welcomes contributions from diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, including studies on reportage in literature, cinema, photography, visual arts, art history, theatre, performance, race, ethnicity, and gender. The completed volume will be submitted to a university press to be considered for publication. We invite contributions focused on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Terminology: “Reportage” (baogao wenxue, or baodao wenxue) and contesting or alternative terms in Chinese (jishi wenxue, fei xugou, etc.)
  • Ethics, politics, and epistemic modalities
  • Reportage’s engagement with gender, sexuality and race
  • Production of social space in reportage
  • Reportage and cultural cosmopolitanism
  • Urban and rural reportage, labor reportage
  • Border and border-crossing in war reportage, frontier reportage
  • Postwar reportage and popular media culture
  • Documentary reportage and its relation to grassroots activism
  • Environmental reportage
  • Reportage in postcolonial and neocolonial settings, and its impact on everyday life
  • Queer reportage in Sinophone worlds
  • Visual reportage, such as reportage illustrations, photoreportage, cartoon reportage, reportage manhua, and reportage animation.
  • Reportage and intermedial reflexivity; reportage’s conscious reference to another medium in representing individual or collective desires or sensibilities
  • Audio reportage, broadcasting, and the role of sound, music, ambient effects, and audio techniques to speak for factual, subjective, or imaginative actualities
  • Reportage theater: its political efficacies or deployment of diverse dramatic forms in conveying or embodying events, viewpoints and truths. 


September 30, 2021: Submission of a 500-word proposal for articles, plus a 150-word bio, to both editors: Charles A. Laughlin, University of Virginia, <>; Li Guo, Utah State University, <>

October 31, 2021: Prospective authors notified of the status of their submission.

May 20, 2022: Full versions of chapters of 8000 words due to the editors.

June 20, 2022: Finalists selected. Decisions and revisions on submissions are sent to authors from the editors.

August 20, 2022: Final, revised chapters are due.

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