Conference Program Flyer

Conference Theme & Overview

Multisensory Dissent and Alliance Building is the inaugural conference of the Society of Sinophone Studies (3S). The concept for the conference was motivated by increasing authoritarian and ethnic/race-based repression in key Sinophone sites around the world: the holding of democratic elections in Taiwan ROC in the face of PRC social media interference and disinformation campaigns; anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong SAR that were met with increasingly hostile state violence; the PRC’s intensified regime of surveillance and internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang while enacting a new National Security Law for Hong Kong; and the flaring anti-Asian racism, rhetoric, and violence in the United States (under an administration perpetuating anti-immigrant policies and emboldening white supremacy) and the West, as well as anti-African actions taken in Guangzhou, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to these challenges, popular demonstrations against systemic racism and against authoritarianism grew stronger worldwide as they adapted to the “new normal” of engaging a “socially distanced” civil sphere. Recognizing that this rapidly changing reality cannot but influence our academic culture, this conference takes seriously the need to analyze, historicize, and theorize interconnected and creatively adaptive Sinophone expressions of dissent and alliance building across geopolitical boundaries. By mobilizing interarea, interdisciplinary, and cross-methodological perspectives on multisensory modes of expressing dissent and ally-ship across the Sinophone world (including Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Southeast Asia, North America, Africa, and Europe), our interdisciplinary conference seeks to generate new cross-disciplinary frameworks for understanding, interpreting, and amplifying the broader theoretical, methodological, and relational salience of such multisensory expressions.

The conference highlights perspectives that exceed or depart from the reductive discursive frameworks of liberal humanism vs. nationalist/racialist difference (i.e. pan-Chinese or East Asian exceptionalisms) that often dominate the lens through which Sinophone conditions are viewed. It also foregrounds research that includes but also goes beyond audiovisual sensoria to consider haptic, tactile, or kinetic perception (touch, taste, smell, etc.) or different (meta)physical states and activities (pain, disability, hallucination, exercise, dreaming, etc.). Key questions include: How might multisensory approaches to Sinophone conditions evoke novel or unintuitive intimacies or relations that bring other actors/agents into play, such as the transpacific, “other” Asias, the indigenous or minoritarian, or the non-Sinophone? How might a multisensory approach to Sinophone dissent and ally-ship transform Sinophone studies or other disciplinary conventions?

The conference features one keynote speech and six panels spread across three days.

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Conference Schedule

  • 16:20-16:45 PDT(19:20-19:45 EDT; Fri, Apr 23, 07:20-07:45 HKT)

    Welcome and Opening Remarks

    Brian Bernards (3S Program Director) and Howard Chiang (3S Chair)

    Sonya Lee (Director, USC East Asian Studies Center)

    Janet Hoskins (Co-Director, USC Center for Transpacific Studies)

    17:00-18:30 PDT(20:00-21:30 EDT; Fri, Apr 23, 08:00-09:30 HKT)

    Panel 1: Inter-Asia Migrant Labor, Literature, and Art

    1. Nicholas Y. H. Wong (U of Hong Kong), “Staying Put or Running Away: Economic Migrants in Mahua Literature”
    2. Myron Chun-chieh Tsao (National Chung Hsing U), “Translating in Coalition: Reading Yu-Ling Ku’s Our Stories: Migration and Labour in Taiwan as Storytelling of Healing”
    3. Junting Huang (Cornell U), “Bordering ‘Domesticity’: Filipina Domestic Workers in Hong Kong’s Contemporary Art”
    • Discussant: Kun Xian Shen (U of California, Los Angeles)
      • Moderator: Lily Wong (American U)

    19:00-20:30 PDT (22:00-23:30 EDT; Fri, Apr 23, 10:00-11:30 HKT)

    Panel 2: Technologies of Protest, Popular Media, Countercultural Lyrics 

    1. Aubrey Tang (Chapman U), “Focalizing the E-Sinophone Body through Reversed Front
    2. Nathanel Amar (CEFC Taipei), “Sinophone Music and Social Movements, 1989-2019”
    3. Lillian Ngan (U of Southern California), “The Logic of Racial Misrecognition: Are the Hong Kong Protests seen as a Vietnamese Threat?”
    • Discussant: Ka Lee Wong (U of Southern California)
      • Moderator: Howard Chiang (U of California, Davis)
  • 13:00-14:30 PDT (16:00-17:30 EDT; Sat, Apr 24, 04:00-05:30 HKT)

    Inaugural Keynote: Shu-mei Shih, “Major and Minor Commons in Empire”

    <Zoom Webinar link for keynote only>

    Shu-mei Shih is American Comparative Literature Association President (as of April 12, 2021)

    and Edward W. Said Professor of Comparative Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures, 

    and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles

    17:00-18:45 PDT (20:00-21:45 EDT; Sat, Apr 24, 08:00-09:45 HKT)

    Panel 3: The Cold War Legacies of Global South Sinophone Alliances

    1. Shuang Shen (Penn State U), “Refiguring Empires from the Sinophone South”
    2. Derek Sheridan (Academia Sinica), “The Limits of Solidarity: Translating ‘Chinese Imperialism’ Between Sinophone and African Contexts”
    3. Jessica Siu-yin Yeung (SOAS London),“Hong Kong Literature and the Taiwanese Encounter: Literary Magazines, Popular Literature, and Shih Shu-ching’s Hong Kong Stories”
    4. Mark McConaghy (National Sun Yat-sen U), “The Historical Afterlives of Sinophone Socialism: Yang Kehuang, Xie Xuehong, and Gu Ruiyun in Cross-Straits Historical Memory”
    • Discussant: Sunyoung Park (U of Southern California)
      • Moderator: E.K. Tan (Stony Brook U)

    19:00-20:30 PDT (22:00-23:30 EDT; Sat, Apr 24, 10:00-11:30 HKT)

    Panel 4: Translingual Postcoloniality and Intersectional Alliance

    1. Desmond Hok-Man Sham (National Chiao Tung U), “Revisiting ‘Between Colonizers’: In Search of an Adequate Postcolonial Theory for Hong Kong”
    2. Ting Fai Yu (Monash U Malaysia), “The Politics of Language in Queer Sinophone Malaysia”
    3. Alvin K. Wong (U of Hong Kong), “Towards a Queer Feminist Sense Method: Protest and the Politics of Intersectionality in Hong Kong”
    • Discussant: Hangping Xu (U of California, Santa Barbara)
      • Moderator: Brian Bernards (U of Southern California)
  • 13:00-14:30 PDT (16:00-17:30 EDT; Sun, Apr 25, 04:00-05:30 HKT)

    Panel 5: Transpacific Literary, Documentary, and Bio-Imperial Encounters

    1. Liang Luo (U of Kentucky), “A Sinophone Documentary by a Dutch Filmmaker on the Great Leap Forward?”
    2. Jih-fei Cheng (Scripps College), “Cold Blood: Translations and Transmissions of Race/Ethnicity across the United States and the People’s Republic of China”
    3. Clara Iwasaki (U of Alberta), “A Place for Everyone and Everyone in their Place: North American Nikkei through the Eyes of Lao She and Helena Kuo”
    • Discussant: Li-Ping Chen (U of Southern California)
      • Moderator: Rebecca Ehrenwirth (U of Applied Sciences/SDI Munich)


    17:00-18:45 PDT (20:00-21:45 EDT; Sun, Apr 25, 08:00-09:45 HKT)

    Panel 6: Body Politics, Cinema, Ecology, Movement

    1. Emily Wilcox (William & Mary), “Ethnic Presence and Ethnic Absence: Qemberxanim’s Bodily Discourse and the Making of ‘Uyghur Dance’”
    2. Ta-wei Chi (National Chengchi U), “Cripping Sinophone Cinema: Recognition of the Bare Lives in Singapore”
    3. Zizi Li (U of California, Los Angeles), “Negotiating in Chaos: Amdo Tibetan Mediascape and Landscape in Pema Tseden’s Tharlo
    4. Kyle Shernuk (Yale U), “Being-With and Bodpa Epistemology: Ethnicized Environmental Practices in Lhaze’s Digital Videography”
    • Discussant: Jenny Chio (U of Southern California)
      • Moderator: E.K. Tan (Stony Brook U)

    19:00-20:00 PDT (22:00-23:00 EDT; Sun, Apr 25, 10:00-11:00 HKT)

    Post-Conference Chat & Virtual Cocktail Hour (Facilitated by SSS Board)