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CFP: Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature (ACCL) Biennial Conference: Text, Media, and Transcultural Negotiation

Call for Papers:

Association of Chinese and Comparative Literature (ACCL) Biennial Conference:

“Text, Media, and Transcultural Negotiation”

June 21-23, 2017

The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Submission deadline: December 1, 2016.

Three types of submission will be accepted: 1) Applicants may submit abstracts for potential inclusion in one of 6 multi-day panels (details appear below); 2) Groups of contributors may submit complete panel proposals; 3) Applicants may submit individual abstracts, which (if accepted) would be arranged into two-hour panels by the conference organizers.

We expect to have approximately 150 participants in the conference, of which roughly half will be in one of the 6 multi-day panels and the other half will be in one of the individual two-hour panels. 

Submissions and presentations may be in English or Chinese, and all abstracts should be under 300 English words or 500 Chinese characters. Panel proposals (option 2, above) should include abstracts for each individual paper, as well as a separate abstract for the panel as a whole. Also, each panel proposal should identify the panel organizer and a panel chair; the organizer and chair may be the same person, and each may also serve as a presenter or discussant for the panel. All contributors should provide their name, institutional affiliation, and position, and all submissions should be e-mailed to by December 1, 2016. Acceptance letters will be sent out in early January, 2017. No individual may submit more than one abstract, or be part of more than one panel.

Queries may be addressed to carlos rojas ( )

Conference Details:

“Text, Media, and Transcultural Negotiation”

June 21-23, 2017


ACCL President (2015-2017): Carlos Rojas (Duke University)


2017 Conference Keynote Speakers:

CHANG Hsiao-hung (National Taiwan University), 

“The Im/proper Eileen Chang: Texts, Relics and Ownership”

Michel Hockx (University of Notre Dame), 

“The True, the Good, and the Beautiful: State Policies towards Literature under Xi Jinping”

Leo Ou-fan Lee (The Chinese University of Hong Kong), 

“Metaphors of Hong Kong”  


Hosted and organized by the Centre for Cultural Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

Co-organized by the Hong Kong Literature Research Centre, CUHK, and the 

Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.

Co-hosted by the Department of Chinese Language and Literature and the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies, CUHK; and by the Office of the Provost, Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, and the Critical Asian Humanities Program, Duke University.


Three types of submissions will be accepted: 

1)     Individuals may submit abstracts for possible inclusion in one of the 6 different multi-day panels listed below. Each of these 6 panels will meet for three days in a row, for two hours each day. 

2)     Groups of contributors may submit complete panel proposals. Each panel will last two hours. A typical panel would include 3-4 presenters and a discussant, but alternate formats are encouraged. Each panel proposal should identify the panel organizer and a panel chair; the organizer and chair may be the same person, and each may also serve as a presenter or discussant for the panel.

3)     Individuals may submit individual abstracts, which (if accepted) would be arranged into panels by the conference organizers.


Details on Multi-Day Panels: 

Each multi-day panel will have two co-chairs, and will include up to 12 papers in all. Each multi-day panel will meet for two hours each of the three days of the conference, and all panelists are expected to attend all three of the sessions.  The first four panels will be bilingual, in English and Chinese, while the final two will be conducted primarily in Mandarin Chinese.  Applicants wishing to be considered for one of the 6 multi-day sessions should indicate this on their application. 

  1.  “Transcultural Negotiation, Translingual Practice and Left-Wing Cosmopolitanism” (in Chinese and English)

Chaired by Lik-kwan Cheung (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Hsiang-yin Sasha Chen (Academia Sinica)

Cosmopolitanism is a broad notion: It illuminates the “world-ness” in late Qing culture, and vice versa. These concepts of cosmopolitanism and world-ness, however, are not identical, in that the latter concept stems from national awareness and self-reflection, redefining China as a modern nation-state. Under this sort of conception, China has to be connected to the world, and concepts such as nation and community must therefore be considered from this perspective. However, this model began to be challenged by political reality during the Republican period, when May Fourth elites, facing political disillusionment, introduced a differing version of cosmopolitanism from a cultural dimension. In the late 1920s, this trend of thought grew more radical and formed a revolutionary left-wing mindset, directly relating and connecting to that of the Soviet Union and various European nations. Some Chinese modernist and neo-sensationalist writers tried to express the relations between this revolutionary trend of thought and avant-garde arts, and this is a cosmopolitan cultural politics related to urban culture, media culture, Bohemian culture, sexual liberation and free-love discourses. In the 1930s, this cultural, intellectual, artistic and literary trend become fashionable, and has come to be known as left-wing cosmopolitanism. This panel invites papers examining the cosmopolitan culture from the late Qing to the contemporary era, including China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

  1. “Human/Inhuman/Posthuman Conditions” (in Chinese and English)

Chaired by Mingwei Song (Wellesley College) and Kenny Ng (City University of Hong Kong)

What is a human? A question like this must have perplexed the protagonist of Mo Yan’s 2006 novel Life and Death Are Wearing Me Out, a landlord who was killed by the communists in 1949 and subsequently reincarnated as various (nonhuman) farm animals over fifty years of China’s revolution and reform, until ultimately being reborn again as a human, offering him a perspective from which he proceeds to relate a fundamentally posthuman narrative. More generally, countless Chinese writers have used animals, ghosts, robots, cyborgs, alien intelligence, and even common people to question the scientific, cultural, and ideological constructs of humanity. Deeply entangled with the politics of a changing China, the changing notions of the human are deeply imbricated with issues of progress, development, history, science, and technology, as well as reactions to enlightenment ideas and revolutionary practice. This panel invites scholars to explore the cultural, ethical, and epistemological connotations of human, inhuman, and posthuman conditions. We welcome studies on the modern or premodern period, and particularly encourage interdisciplinary approaches.

  1. The Epistemology of (Hong Kong) Literature (in Chinese and English)

Chaired by Nimyan Wong (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Kwok-Kou Leonard Chan (The Education University of Hong Kong)

While reading literature is both a perceptual and emotional activity, it is also fundamentally cognitive. As such, literary engagement is correlated with a number of epistemological concerns, such as what can we know about literature and what can it teach us. Inspired by the recent Umbrella Movement and the forthcoming twentieth anniversary of Hong Kong Handover, this panel will address questions of how literature becomes knowledge and how knowledge becomes literature; and more specifically it will attempt to rethink the meaning and status of Hong Kong in terms of its literature and literary histories, anthologies and archives, and processes of canonization and conservation. This panel invites papers focusing specifically on Hong Kong and Hong Kong literature, as well as papers that address broader questions of the epistemological considerations raised by literature itself. 

  1. New Media and Mediality (in Chinese and English)

Chaired by Yomi Braester (University of Washington) and Fan Yang (University of Maryland) 

Mediality, a term that orients toward the materiality of various aesthetic forms and the social process of mediation, has often prompted us to rethink “Chineseness” in a transnational context. Using mediality as a framework, this panel invites papers that examine the interplay between new media and cultural expressions in premodern, modern, and contemporary periods. Collectively, we will explore the role of wide-ranging media technologies, devices, platforms, and environments in shaping textual practices, political imaginations, and the making of a transnational Chinese-language sphere.

  1. The Nativist Tradition in Contemporary Chinese Literature, and its Creative Transformation (in Chinese)

Chaired by:  CHEN Xiaoming (Peking University) and ZHANG Qinghua (Beijing Normal University)

Virtually all scholars studying contemporary Chinese literature view it as a revolutionary product shaped in response to Western literature and global modernism. This is all true, and without the modernist reform of the 1980s, the literary achievements of the past three decades would not have been possible. But if we examine this history more carefully, we notice that beginning in the 1990s, contemporary Chinese literature began to turn more to nativism for its sources. This nativist tradition includes the use of history, popular culture, folk culture, local knowledge, and traditional Chinese narrative structures. Of course, this sort of “return” is not simply an act of recovery or submission, but rather it constitutes a form of local intuition shaped in response to a global perspective. In sum, it can be seen as a new and more effective transformation of a nativist tradition. This panel invites papers examining the reasons behind this nativist turn, its cultural manifestations, together with its internal mechanism and generating impulse. Papers on China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are welcome. 

  1. Writing China: Reality and Absurdity  (in Chinese)

Chaired by: YAN Lianke (Renmin University) and LIANG Hong (Renmin University)

Reality and absurdity in literature are not mutually opposed concepts, but rather they mutually support one another. Absurdity can be used to manifest reality, just as reality contains within itself an element of absurdity. They are twins, and like a lamp and mirror, they mutually illuminate one another. Beginning with Lu Xun, absurdity and madness have become an important means of representing reality in modern Chinese fiction, and in the 1980s, authors such as Yu Hua, Yan Lianke, and so forth continued this tradition. Works such as The Seventh DayLenin’s Kisses, and The Explosion Chronicles all use a strange and bizarre and imagination to present us with a picture of contemporary Chinese reality. In a sense, the picture of life and existence that is presented through this absurdity comes even closer to reflecting an underlying reality itself. In a contemporary China, which is in a continual process of fragmentation, where the gulf between rich and poor is continually increasing, and where concepts are increasingly getting jumbled, “absurdity” may become the most important aesthetic mode by which literature reflect reality. This panel invites papers examining the relationship between absurdity and reality in the narrative process, focusing on China, Taiwan, or Hong Kong from any period. 


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