CFP, Generations: New histories of East Asia

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Call for Papers
February 1, 2019
Quebec, Canada
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, Chinese History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Humanities, World History / Studies

Call for Papers

Générations : Histoires nouvelles en Asie de l’Est - Generations: New Stories in East Asia

Date of proposal: 1er février 2019

Deadline for articles: 1er juillet 2019

Les Cahiers d'histoire journal is presently accepting proposal for its 2019 special issue. This issue, which focuses on the history of China and East Asian countries, will be published under the direction of Carl Déry (postdoctoral fellow and affiliate member of the Centre d'Études sur l'Asie de l'Est at the Université de Montréal). The objective of this issue is to offer a rich range of current perspectives on the history of China and the history of East Asian countries. The goal is specifically to give young researchers a voice and to create a space for new ideas and innovative perspectives.

No matter whether it’s about the history of China or the history of any other country, our knowledge and understanding of particular events or dynamics never cease to evolve and to transform over time, nourished by the unending process of passing from one generation to the other. Like Fairbank wrote in April 1986, in the foreword of The Great Chinese Revolution (Harpers Collins, 1987), “each generation learns that its final role is to be the doormat for the coming generation to step on. It is a worthy, indeed essential function to perform”. As he was near the end of his academic career while he expressed those views, we would like to highlight this idea of generational transfer in the light of those who are currently at the very beginning of their careers and who are seeking for opportunities to make their voice heard. Addressing specifically the younger generation of scholars on the verge to “step on the doormat” of their predecessors, the aim of this special issue is to give a voice to the coming generation of young historians working on China and on East Asia in order to showcase the richness and diversity of their views as they build their representations of the past.

Historical writing has evolved considerably over the past decades, in terms of research methods, perspectives and approaches as well as technical tools of disseminating knowledge, beginning with the unprecedented amount of information available via the Internet. The reality of today’s young researchers is obviously different from the reality of those of yesterday and this new rising generation has to take its place. The ambition of this thematic issue is somehow to become a testimonial for this transition to come.

Générations therefore refers to passing on the torch. It is both a heritage that is transmitted and something new that is created, as young researchers position themselves in ways that differ from predecessors. It is not for the sake of revisionism per se, but simply because this is how historical knowledge is built over time. From one to the other, from the master to the student, Knowledge is perpetuated and transformed by going forward. Générations also means an awareness that occurs in the encounter, where true learning takes shape. Whether it refers to an academic event (teaching, conferences), a “fieldwork” situation (internships, immersion, archival research) or a strictly intellectual activity (discussion, reading, language study), the encounter always invites to surpass oneself and to take into account another perspective on the same object of study that compels us. Générations thus reflects the diversity of perspectives that intersect around a similar object, in different times and places, but also approaches that go beyond disciplinary frameworks.

A current popular theme in academic research is to highlight the impact of the cross-cultural encounter, which is central to relations between Eastern and Western civilizations and plays a crucial role in shaping and transmitting historical knowledge. While this kind of approach is totally commendable and rewarding, we however do believe that this idea of the “encounter” should not be expressed only according to a synchronic mode (between different countries, civilizations, cultures), but also according to a diachronic mode of representation, i.e. between different generations of scholars. Inspired by Mary Louise Pratt’s concept of “transculturation” (Imperial Eyes : Writing and Transculturation, Routledge, 1992), highlighting the crucial role played by the “contact zones” between various cultures, we transpose this idea to the various generations of historians who follow one another in the interpretation they give of a specific subject, and the historical representation constructed in this “zone of encounter” and transition, between different generations.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of topics that could be addressed in the contributions:

Intercultural encounters
Interdisciplinary approaches
History of frontiers
New methodological and theoretical approaches
New type of sources
Synthesis or state of the question on a given topic
Affiliation to a school of thought
Transmission of a particular heritage (individual or cultural)
Writing history and national identities

The director of this special issue invites propositions for articles covering any historical period of time, whether it is the history of China or the history of any other East Asian country. Anyone interested can submit a proposal regardless of their field of study in the humanities and social sciences (history, anthropology, archaeology, sociology, etc.), as long as the diachronic dimension is at the forefront.

Those interested are warmly invited to submit a 500-words proposal, describing their intended article, including references and primary sources used, as well as explaining clearly the article’s originality. Authors are also invited to add a short biographical statement, explaining their current academic situation and institutional affiliation. These proposals must be received by February 1st, 2019. Completed articles must remain within an 8000-words limit (endnotes included) and must be received by the editor at the latest by July 1st 2019 for the evaluation process. Authors are particularly encouraged to write in French, but English is also accepted.

Les Cahiers d’histoire expects that the articles received follow specific presentation guidelines, which are available online at Please submit your proposals, or write with any requests for additional information,

(A few reviews, of 700 to 800 words including footnotes, on books related to the theme of this issue will also be accepted. Write to us at with your review proposal, or if you would like to contribute!)

Contact Info: 

Carl Déry

Categories: Journal, CFP