CFP: AAS 2022 Panel "Life-Giving Objects: Sensing the Social in Precarious Ecologies of East Asia"

Jieun Cho's picture
Call for Papers
July 23, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Cultural History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Environmental History / Studies, Social Sciences

Call for papers for a virtual panel at the AAS Annual Meeting in Honolulu, Hawai’i, March 24–27, 2022.

Life-Giving Objects: Sensing the Social in Precarious Ecologies of East Asia

Discussant: Anne Allison (Duke University)
Chair: Jieun Cho (Duke University)
Organizer: Jieun Cho (Duke University), Shiori Shakuto (University of Tokyo)

How do people compose their attachments, desires, and intimacy towards material objects in negotiating ecological frontiers? Discussions on global environmental degradation often foreground an abstract relationship between the human species and the environment as an actor and a background for moralizing human action. Critical scholars in Marxist feminist and anti-colonial scholarship challenge the body/environment divide by offering key spaces to explore how life possibilities are shaped in visceral ways of collective living alongside economies and ecologies of life-giving objects. The social in this affective sense may be theorized as a sense of/for life, both extending and exceeding the present relations of human/environment. This panel brings together papers that examine the place of the social in precarious ecologies of East Asia. From family and radiation in post-nuclear ecologies of life to the gendered morality of consumption and recycling of household plastic waste, and more, we investigate normative socialities, toxic connections, and sensory registers of animating objects for their analytic potential. We warmly invite proposals that examine the interplay between the life cycle of objects and ways of social living broadly conceptualized through affect, intimacy, labor, toxicity, materiality, sociality, desire, and care.

Some of the questions we hope to explore are:

  • How do material objects come to have life in collective ways of living?
  • How does the normativity of social practice extend to un/desirable environmental futures?
  • How are ecological possibilities informed by dreams and hauntings of political economies?
  • How can the categories of social analysis like race, gender, class, and disability help us to examine “the environment?”
  • How do people remake their ecological connections in their everyday experiences?

Please submit an abstract (250 words max) with paper title and presenter information to Jieun Cho ( by July 23, Friday. We will notify selected participants by July 28, Wednesday.


We are proposing a virtual panel for the Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, which will take place on March 24-27, 2022, in Honolulu, Hawai’i. All presentations will be done virtually, and in-person participation is optional. If the panel is accepted, all the participants are required to register for the conference.

Contact Info: 

Jieun Cho

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