China-Arabia, Encounters and Engagements

Sharon Ong's picture
Call for Papers
August 19, 2016
Subject Fields: 
Arabic History / Studies, Asian History / Studies


The Asia Research Institute (ARI), National University of Singapore, is pleased to invite paper proposals for the Third Annual Muhammad Alagil Conference in Arabia-Asia Studies, 15-16 December 2016, in Singapore. With a view to developing and promoting work in this area over the next few years, we invite paper proposals on all aspects of China-Arabia relations, from the distant past, through the present and into the future. We are open to proposals from all disciplines and topics. We are also open to submissions for well-focussed panels, from groups of 3 scholars.

Examples of possible topics include:

  • Geostrategy, e.g. Abbasid relations with things Chinese; patterns of Song trade and fiscal control; Mongol promotion of West Asia-East Asia political and commercial links especially during the Yuan dynasty; Admiral Zheng He's stage-setting ventures across the Indian Ocean; Chinese development aid in the Middle East in the PRC period; China's One Belt, One Road New Silk Route initiative, encompassing infrastructure, finance and broad-based alliances.
  • Diplomacy, e.g. roles played by Chinese Muslims in different periods, opening and cultivating relations between Chinese and Arab state and non-state actors, and involving countries along the way by land or sea; inter-state rivalry, e.g. between China and Japan in employing Chinese Muslims for state missions abroad.
  • Trade goods and their broader significance, e.g. silk, porcelain, tea, incense, spices, opium, medicines, horses, oil and gas, consumer manufactures.
  • Circulation of knowledges, technologies and innovations, such as paper, porcelain, cotton and silk, gunpowder, bills, cheques and currency.
  • Trading emporia, economic zones and diasporic merchants in between, such as in Cairo, Suez, Jedda, Aden, Dubai, Hormuz, Kishn, Gwadar, Kashgar, Randir, Quilon, Kayilpattinam, Calcutta, Aceh, Melaka, Riau, Singapore, Pattani, Ternate, Saigon, Hainan, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Quanzhou, Yiwu, Shanghai, Dalian, Kobe, Seoul.
  • Wealth, War and the West: Trade surpluses, sovereign wealth funds, colonialism, and other shared/comparable aspects of relations with the West.
  • Pilgrimages, their religious and cultural meanings, and their associated social phenomena such as learning, trade, migration, exile, intermarriage, routes and travel infrastructure, diplomatic relations and rivalry.
  • Literary, travel, historical, doctrinal, educational, genealogical, propagandistic writings and translations, connecting or comparing China with Arabia, or East and West Asia more generally, including perceptions and imageries of each other.
  • Cultural, religious, musical, intellectual and other exchanges.
  • Individual experiences, e.g. of students, workers, labourers, priests, pilgrims, exiles, dancers, musicians, merchants, soldiers, travellers, diplomats, etc.

Submission of Proposals

Please submit a one-page abstract with title and a brief CV with current affiliation, email and telephone contacts to by 19 August 2016 using the paper proposal form. Selected presenters will be notified by 8 September, and should send in a completed draft paper (5,000-8,000 words) by 15 November. Based on need and availability of funds, partial or full funding will be granted to paper presenters. Full funding covers economy class air travel to Singapore, plus board and lodging for the duration of the conference.

Conference Convenors

Prof Engseng HO
Asia Research Institute, and Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Dr WEN Shuang
Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore

Contact Info: 

Date : 15 Dec 2016 - 16 Dec 2016
Venue : Asia Research Institute, ARI Seminar Room, AS8 Level 4,10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
Organisers : Eng Seng HO, Nisha Mary MATHEW , Shuang WEN

Contact Email: