Metaverse in China–cfp

Metaverse: The Future of Global Capitalism in China
The University of Pittsburgh plans to organize an interdisciplinary symposium on Metaverse in China on July 28-29, 2022.

The pandemic has generated an acute awareness that the current global economic system is fragile and unsustainable, bringing about waves of new discourses. The discourse of “involution” (内卷) became popular in China when the Chinese government announced its intention to shut down the economy and close the national border during the early stage of the pandemic. Soon after, Facebook’s change of its name to Meta aroused another round of heated debate about “metaverse,”  translated as “yuan yuzhou” (元宇宙) in Chinese. Whereas in the West metaverse as a novelty mostly motivates more adventures in financial investment, in China people seem to be more interested in its conceptual potential. The Chinese government takes it as an emerging high ground of global competition in technology and digital economy, and seeks to apply a coordinated development and regulation of metaverse. Meanwhile, a few book-length studies on metaverse have been published or contracted to be published in Chinese language, and the phrase yuan yuzhou 元宇宙is quite popular on social media among intellectuals and the general public alike. With its intrinsic utopian and dystopian characteristics, the discourse of metaverse is entangled with the discourses of revolution, involution, scientism, monopoly, and decentralization, having wide implications for every aspect of social life. It prompts one to wonder whether “metaverse” would be another grand narrative after globalization that would fundamentally change the ways the world operates or how people perceive the world. This symposium will discuss the enthusiasm about metaverse in China to delineate its conceptual, historical, socio-economic, and political significance.  We are primarily interested in how the techno-economic development influences people’s mentality and behavior, as well as their perception of the present and the future. Potential topics could include yet not be limited to:

  • The exploration of “metaverse” from technological, philosophical, and affective perspectives in China;
  • The utopian or dystopian significance of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) in the human and posthuman worlds;
  • Literary, cinematic, and media representations of metaverse;
  • New economic relationships implied in metaverse;
  • The history of metaverse and its relationship with involution

We welcome submissions from both science and humanities scholars and graduate students, and look forward to an interdisciplinary exchange. Please submit an abstract, about 250 words, and a short bio to Kun Qian,, by May 15, 2022. We will provide details about the symposium (presumably hybrid) shortly after the abstracts are selected.

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