Precarious Asia: Crisis, Critique and Yearning 2020 (EAAA Call For Papers)

Derek Sheridan's picture
November 28, 2020 to November 29, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, Chinese History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies, Korean History / Studies

Precarious Asia: Crisis, Critique and Yearning

2020 EAAA Call For Papers

East Asian Anthropological Association Annual Meeting

Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

November 28-29, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has wrecked human lives and imposed an overwhelming sense of precarity on the world in its wake in 2020. East Asia, where this crisis first emerged, is a region whose anthropologists are urged now more than ever to contemplate its present and future.This Call for Papers invites anthropologists and related scholars to deliberate on the impact of the 2020 pandemic and other emerging challenges that are crucial to our concern in East Asia.

A sense of precarity reigns across the region, involving but not limited to recurrent epidemics, the fate of aging societies, the current and future status of political orders, the invention and use of technology in governance, emerging forms of culture and identity, economic uncertainties, national disputes, the effects of the human and non-human relationship, and the climate crisis. Taken together, a palpable anxiety about the future infuses the region.

How can anthropology illuminate the many ways a sense of precarity influences our time? More importantly, how might an “ethnographic sensibility” help us understand the different and sometimes contradicting ways people conceptualize their worlds and futures? A sense of impending (or even present) crisis not only challenges people’s lives and governance, it also generates a space for humanistic reflection, intellectual critique, and yearning; yearning either for pasts imagined to have been less precarious, or for imagined futures which might be realized. Defining what is or is not considered a “crisis,” and the kinds of critique and yearning they entail, look very differently depending on whether one is a laborer, investor, student, migrant, farmer, health worker, fisherman, activist, ritual specialist, politician, male, female, straight, queer, or transgendered (to only name a few).

We invite submissions from anthropologists from East Asia working in East Asia on a broad range of topics related to crisis, critique, and yearning in precarious Asia. Topics might include the following:

1) Anthropocene in East Asia: How people are experiencing and engaging with the effects of biopolitics of epidemics and medicine; climate change in their communities; human-animal and human-plant relations; the anthropology of food; food sovereignty movements; the anthropology of the senses.

2) Social and Political Movements: Government propaganda; struggles of indigenous people for sovereignty, recognition, and social justice; migrant labor; anti-imperialism; transnational movements for and against gender and LGBTQ+ equality; the practice of politics in illiberal spaces.

3) Hope and Anxiety: Populism; new religions; religious revivalism; cultural and language revivalism; education; community sustainability; psychological well-being; health and quality of life; Active Ageing.

4) Technological Change and Society: Surveillance capitalism; net armies and rumor; artificial intelligence; big data and censorship; incarceration; social media; quality of life; equality and inequality.

5) Global East Asia: Democracy; socialism; capitalism; aid diplomacy; migration; the end of globalization; cultural production; cultural heritage; race, ethnicity, and gender.

Please fill in the online Submission Form (preferred); or download the submission form, fill in it, and send it back to . The deadline for submission is June 30, 2020.

Individual Papers:

Online submission or download form

Proposed Panel:

Online submission or download form

The registration fee is US$50 (non-student) or US$20 (student), and includes receptions and meals during the conference (November 28-29) and the post-conference tour (November 30). Participants need to pay for their own travel and lodging. We are happy to help participants stay at the Academia Sinica Guesthouse (ASG) depending on availability. Participants may also arrange their own lodging. The registration and ASG lodging information will be delivered within two months after the submission deadline.

Due to the lingering uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, we list a 4-step application procedure and dates below for your attention:

Step 1: Submit Individual Paper or Proposed Panel by June 30, 2020.

Step 2: Receive Acceptance Notification and related information by August 31, 2020.

Step 3: Submit ASG Lodging Form and Post-conference Tour Form by September 15, 2020.

Step 4: Pay registration fee in order to keep presentation in the conference program by October 15, 2020.

We look forward to your submission for joining the 2020 EAAA in Taipei this November!