CfP for AAS 2020: Creating Emergent Futures in Contemporary China

Xiaobo Yuan's picture
Call for Papers for the 2020 Association of Asian Studies Conference (March 19-22, Boston): 

Creating Emergent Futures in Contemporary China


China’s future is a perennial topic of international media and scholarly attention, dominated by narratives of global ascendancy and economic expansion, mass urbanization and transregional frictions. Rather than reproducing these sketches of a homogenous futurity wedded to the trajectory of the Chinese nation-state, this panel proposes to investigate future-making in China as a constellation of communal, personal, and grassroots activities. We ask: how do diverse communities in China imagine and produce futures in ways that destabilize — sometimes actively resisting or pathologizing, other times covertly slipping alternative scripts into — dominant images of China’s future? What emergent worlds of care, affect, desire, and play are created out of these futuristic visions, and how might they interact with communities’ and individuals’ intimate entanglements with the state? When turning their gazes to multiple horizons of futurity, how do these social actors negotiate mnemonic ruins of the past and anxieties of preserving the present? What temporal disruptions are made possible in these future-oriented imaginations? How do these emergent futures blur the line between reality, realist representation, and speculative fiction? 


We are interested in explorations from across a diverse range of topics, including religion, science and technology, speculative fictions, environmentalism, activism, ethnic minority politics, popular/sound/visual cultures, documentary practices, and inheritance of memory in everyday lives. We invite contributions that are multidisciplinary in scope and genre. 

If you wish to be considered for participation, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and a short bio by July 28 to Xiaobo Yuan ( and Shiqi Lin (   


Keywords: China, emergent futures, resistance, temporality, representation