Chinese Humanities 2033–cfp

Chinese Humanities 2033: New Visions, New Directions
Call for Projects

This conference invites Ph.D. candidates (ABDs), postdocs, and early-stage scholars working on any period to in-person panel sessions at Harvard University on October 6-7, 2023, to discuss what changes are happening in the field of Chinese humanities and where they are leading us. Though we may not be fully aware of the ways in which epistemic paradigms, theoretical frameworks, disciplinary boundaries, and academic job descriptions limit our imagination of what Chinese studies in the humanities can be, they should not keep us from envisioning what we would like to see or change in this field over the next 10 years. As Alvin Toffler says, “change is the process by which the future invades our lives.” “Chinese Humanities 2033” summons the future of Chinese humanities to invade its present. It is a conference about new visions and directions.

This conference both calls for daring anticipation of important topics, approaches, and directions of research for the next ten years, and seeks to foster a hospitable environment for research and creative projects that might not enjoy academic currency today or are struggling on various margins and frontiers. Questions we hope to address include: What are the yet-discussed phenomena, yet-developed approaches, and yet-discovered fields of studies of Chinese humanities? What are their interventions and how do they change the premises of our research today? How do they connect with conventional thinking and conventional subjects of research in new and exciting ways? Can Chinese humanities attract an even broader diversity of scholars? How to make/keep Chinese humanities legible and welcoming to those outside the field? Where will Chinese studies in the humanities be in ten years? How will we get there? We invite you to contribute your expertise to think through these questions with us. This is a conference about change both within academic disciplines and the Chinese cultural sphere.

We would like to call for presentations introducing papers/projects in categories including:

  • Chinese humanities to come (new meanings of Sinophone, China and inner Asian studies, ethnicity and diaspora, multilingualism within and outside the Sinosphere, shifting boundaries of the field)
  • Digitality (digitization, artificial intelligence, robotic lives and digital death, surveillance, digital control, data and database, software, digital goods and art, digital archiving)
  • Contemporary culture in flux (Anime/Comics/Gaming culture, fandom, TV, new forms of theater and performance, platforms, tourism)
  • Futurity (science fiction, climate change, communities to come, the future of indigeneity and ethnicity, population and aging)
  • Space and Environment (ecological thinking, borders, cartography, virtual space)
  • New approaches to premodern studies (changes in classics education, data visualization, archaeological technologies and discoveries, game adaptation of classical tests)
  • Other topics you think should become important over the next decade.

We intend this conference as a forum for scholars in their early career stages to present their papers/projects and discuss their shared interests in an interdisciplinary environment. We also hope that it can incubate promising studies and directions, and forge improbable connections between scholarship of diverse disciplinary and methodological backgrounds. Thus, we welcome all humanities scholars no matter what disciplinary titles you currently hold – it can be literature, philosophy, film and media studies, history, anthropology, religion, and beyond.

To apply, please send the title of your proposed paper/project, a 300 word abstract, and a 100 word bio to by July 20, 2023. Successful submissions will be notified by Aug 20. For questions or inquiries, please contact us at the same email address.

The conference will consist of four panels for a total of twelve presentations over two days. It will also include one keynote address, a dinner, and a special workshop meant for exhibitions of projects in non-traditional academic forms and group discussion. Limited funding for air travel and lodging is available.


Professor David Der-wei Wang
Professor Jie Li
Professor Karen L. Thornber
Yedong Sh-Chen, PhD Candidate in East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Michael O’Krent, PhD Candidate in Comparative Literature

With support from:

Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University
Department of Comparative Literature, Harvard University
Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation

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