CALL FOR PAPERS | Heat in Urban Asia: Past, Present, and Future

Minghua Tay Announcement
Subject Fields
Environmental History / Studies, Humanities, Public Health, Southeast Asian History / Studies, Social Sciences

DATE OF EVENT : 22-23 April 2021
VENUE : National University of Singapore


This workshop is organised by the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore; with support from MOE Tier 2 Grant Heat in Urban Asia: Past, Present, and Future.

The Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Cluster in the Asia Research Institute (ARI) at National University of Singapore (NUS) will host the workshop Heat in Urban Asia: Past, Present, and Future in April, 2021. This is the first academic workshop or conference to consider the phenomenon of heat in urban Asia from a social science and humanities perspective, though one also informed by research in the physical sciences, and with an eye to policy recommendations. Selected papers from the conference will be published in at least one special issue of a prominent international refereed journal.

Scholars who can make theoretical, empirical, historical, and/or geographical contributions to one or more of our three themes below are strongly encouraged to submit an abstract:

Taking the City’s Temperature: The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, and the influence of city planning, design, and infrastructure-building on its escalation or mitigation. This includes the history, theory, and social impact of urban temperature-recording; universal vs. local definitions of heat and their implications; and the role and presence of Asian cities in the theorization of urban heat across a range of disciplines and professions.

Living with Heat: Documenting and theorizing Asian Thermal Cultures. This includes how Asian city dwellers have coped with the quotidian challenges of life in a hot environment; how heat exposure intersects with poverty, vulnerability, and inequality in dwellings and workplaces; heat and gender; heat and the shaping of material culture, from buildings to clothing to food & medicine, to technologies (e.g. air conditioning) to objects; and heat and national/ethnic identity.

Disastrous Heat (or, Not-Quite-Living with Heat): Documenting and theorizing extreme heat events in Asian cities. This includes the phenomenon of the Heat Wave and its construction (or absence) across cultures and borders; heat and emergency management regimes; heat as an emergent public health crisis, and differing metrices of mortality, and morbidity; and limits on adaptability to heat in an urban setting.


Submissions should include a title, an abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief biography including name, institutional affiliation, and email contact. Please note that only previously unpublished papers or those not already committed elsewhere can be accepted. By participating in the workshop, you agree to participate in the future publication plans of the organizers.

Please submit your proposal using the provided template to Ms Tay Minghua at by 30 September 2020. Participants will be required to send in a completed draft paper (6,000-8,000 words) by 1 March 2020.

We are likely to call a pre-workshop Zoom meeting in January/February to exchange ideas and introduce participants prior to the April gathering. A selection of conference papers will be published together in either a special issue of International Refereed Journal (IRJ), or an edited volume.

Papers may be comparative, but they must be at least partially based on empirical work involving one or more sites in Asia. Accepted participants will be provided a subsidy for a round-trip economy-class airfare to Singapore, lodging, and some meals.


Dr Yoonhee JUNG
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore

Assoc Prof Gregory CLANCEY
Asia Research Institute, and Department of History, National University of Singapore

Asst Prof Fiona Clare WILLIAMSON
Department of Science, Technology and Society, Singapore Management University

Assoc Prof Jiat-Hwee CHANG
Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore


Asst Prof Christopher J. COURTNEY
Department of History, Durham University, UK

Sociology Unit, Institute of Economic Growth, India


Contact Information

Ms Minghua TAY
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
AS8 Level 7, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
Tel: (65) 6516 4224
Fax: (65) 6779 1428