Call for Papers: The Globalisation of Christianity in China, University of Manchester 15 – 16 May 2014

Call for Papers: The Globalisation of Christianity in China

 An international conference organised by

Centre for Chinese Studies,

Division of Religions and Theology

To be held at the University of Manchester 15-16 May 2014

 Christianity came to China four times: with the Nestorians during the Tang dynasty (618-907), the Franciscans during the Mongol-ruled Yuan dynasty (1271-1368), the Jesuits during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and with the Protestants ever since the Opium War (1839-42) and during the Republican Era (1911-1949).  But four times it seems they disappeared as these dynasties and the Republican regime vanished from the map of China.  The study of Christianity in China has flourished in recent year (Richard Madson, Lian Xi, Ryan Dunch, Alvyn Austin, Daniel Bays, to name a few).  But the re-emergence and popularity of Christianity in the post-Mao era has raised new questions about the ways in which historians have studied the history of these missions/missionaries.  The churches, converts and practices they left behind have resurfaced in the post-Mao era.  These missions have not failed as generations of historians have argued. The post-Mao era has provided us with hindsight unavailable to us before. How does this help us to re-examine the history of Christianity in China? The landscape of Christianity in post-Mao China is diverse; it differs enormously not just in terms of denomination and brand but also in terms of practice as some congregate in underground churches, some in old churches built by missionaries and others in new facilities provided by the government.  How significant were the foundations laid in the two millennia before?  Many Chinese people, both the elite and the ordinary, have embraced or become interested in Christianity.  What could this mean for China in the decades to come?  We welcome historians/scholars of Christianity and China to join us in a debate that addresses the following questions/issues:

  1. Is there a pattern in the introduction and indigenisation of Christianity in China in the past one thousand four hundred years
  2. Who are the old and new Christians that have emerged and what can they tell us about history, Mao and post-Mao China?
  3. Is the post-Mao emergence of Christianity true indigenisation because it is not missionary-imposed, but home grown and self-driven?
  4. What is the significance of the transition from “Christianity in China” to “Chinese Christianity”?

Inquiries and abstracts of no more than 200 words, plus 5 lines of biographical information, should be sent to Rebecca Frost at before 5 January 2014. Those accepted to present at the conference will be notified by 31 January 2014.  Accommodation and food will be provided during the conference but paper presenters should look for their own funding for travel.

Borders of Sexuality and Desire Network, 2013 workshop, Beijing

Hongwei Bao leads discussion at the workshop. Pictured are (facing camera) Andrew Diver (University of Cambridge postgraduate student) and Elisabeth Engebretsen.

In August 2013 the Borders of Sexuality and Desire network held an international workshop in Beijing at the city’s LGBT Center.

The event built on the successes of the historic 2013 National LGBT Conference, organised by several of the members of the network. This national conference was a two-day event that attracted more than 140 queer activists, organizers, and academics from across the People’s Republic of China, including not just developed eastern areas, but also Tibet and several other interior regions.

On the day following this conference, the network hosted more than 40 core participants from the enlightening weekend for discussion, planning, and dialogue. At the workshop we discussed ways to harness the conference’s momentum to strengthen global queer exchanges, especially as China is now a key voice in the growing international fields of sexuality and gender studies.

Discussions at the workshop focused on these key themes:

  • Indigenization versus globalization of the queer movement—How appropriate is contemporary queer theory, which emanates largely from the west, to the Chinese context, and what can the west learn from China’s example?
  • Defining terminology—How do concepts such as ‘comrade’ (tongzhi; a contemporary Chinese colloquialism referring to non-normative sexualities), ‘queer’ (ku’er; an English loan word used among academics and activists but that is also increasingly used in popular contexts), and ‘LGBT’ (another English loan, meant as a catch-all but that often excludes as much as it includes) contribute to an understanding of what it’s like to have a non-mainstream sexuality in contemporary China?
  • Understanding the movement—Is it necessary to define ‘a movement’, by which process inevitably some people will be excluded?
  • Locating practice—How can queer activists and scholars in China incorporate the needs of small towns and rural areas into what has been largely an urban movement?
  • Building relationships—How can queer activism and queer scholarship build fruitful mutual exchanges?

Organizing participants in the workshop included:

Future events are in planning and may include expanding the network’s activities to Hong Kong and Taiwan. An edited volume that builds on other workshops and includes contributions from many of the network’s participants is under consideration at the Nordic Institute for Asian Studies Press.

Citizen Media in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, China and East Asia, and the Arab World: An interdisciplinary doctoral/postdoctoral training workshop

 Citizen Media in Russia, Central and Eastern Europe, 

China and East Asia, and the Arab World
An interdisciplinary doctoral/postdoctoral training workshop

27-28 January 2014, The University of Manchester

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts: 22 November 2013 

Call for Contributions from Doctoral Students and Early Career Researchers

The term ‘citizen media’, or ‘participatory media’, covers a wide range of activities undertaken by ordinary, non-professional citizens who lay a claim to an area of public life and politics and seek to transform it in some way. From videos circulated on Youtube to graffiti, street performance and other forms of street art, and from community radio to blogging, crowd sourcing, tweeting, flashmob protest and hacktivism, new forms of civic engagement continue to develop, expand and shape the relationship between the private and the public, the local and the global, mainstream and alternative media, corporations and clients, the state and civil society. The aim of the workshop is to bring together doctoral students and early career researchers who work on citizen media in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, China and East Asia, and the Arab world – areas where citizen media has been at the centre of political contestations, censorship and everyday struggles. The workshop will focus on methodological challenges of researching citizen media, whether these are conceptual, practical, ethical or political.

We welcome proposals for 15-minute presentations which discuss any topic relating to the methodologies of researching citizen media in any of these regions.  Papers should reflect the current research of postgraduates or early career researchers. The workshop will also include a guided training session on methods, and several presentations by expert scholars (detailed below). To apply, please send a title and a 300-word abstract  by the 22nd of November 2013.

The event is free of charge and open to doctoral students and early career researchers. Limited funds are available to cover travel and accommodation expenses.  To apply for funding assistance, please indicate so on your submission, and outline the estimated cost of your travel.  Successful candidates will be notified in December.


Please check our website for updates

The event is organised by Adi Kuntsman, Mona Baker and Elena Barabantseva, and sponsored by The Centre for East European Language-Based Area Studies , Centre for Russian, Central and East European Studies , White Rose East Asea Centre , Centre for the Advanced Study of the Arab World and The British Inter-University China Centre

Provisional Programme

1.                  Theory and methods workshop
Luis Pérez González, The University of Manchester, UK:
‘Theoretical and Methodological Perspectives on Citizen Media’

The first part of this workshop will deliver an overview of key theoretical approaches and conceptual networks driving current research on citizen media and different instances of self-mediation. Participants will then be introduced to a range of methods of data collection and analysis in the field, with particular emphasis on qualitative approaches. The final part of the session will involve an interactive discussion of two exploratory case studies illustrating different theoretical and methodological perspectives on the study of citizen media.

2.                  Art and pedagogy workshop

John Johnston, Goldsmith College, UK

3.                  Plenary 1

Astrid Nordin, Lancaster University, UK: ‘Ironic ‘Resistance’ in Chinese Citizen Media Online’

The ‘online generation’ of Chinese citizens, or ‘netizens’, have developed numerous strategies for criticizing and avoiding the heavy online censorship regime to which they are subjected. One aspect of the ironic ego culture of particular interest here is the play with homonymous or near-homonymous words that can help an individual evade censorship software whilst simultaneously critiquing and ridiculing this censorship. Where the methodology of previous scholarship has attempted to pin down this form of expression to mean only one thing (resistance to politics, Bakhtinian carnival), this presentation argues that what is methodologically most interesting about these homonyms is their undecidability as simultaneously either/or and neither/nor. Such a methodological approach can make us better appreciate the complexity of this aspect of Chinese citizen media beyond the resistance/not-resistance binary.

4. Plenary 2

Georgiana Nicoarea, University of Bucharest, Romania, ‘Cairo’s Graffiti Goes Vir(tu)al. Facebook walls, their graffiti avenues and the afterlife’

The graffiti of downtown Cairo has become one of the trademarks of the January 25 Revolution. What looked at first like an over-productive artistic practice appears to be fuelling, through its overwhelming presence, the construction of the revolution’s imagery. Egyptian graffiti has travelled in various forms from real-life walls to Facebook walls and from there to official media and bookstores. This dynamic was initiated by what seemed to be a very natural step into virtual space where liberation graffiti accompanies citizen media and illustrates creative netizen activism. What can this journey tell us about the dynamics of Cairo’s urban inscriptions? Can the virtual public’s interaction with graffiti give more information about its outreach? Does this exposure help Cairo’s graffiti go viral or just virtual? These are the key questions that will be addressed in this talk.

5. Plenary 3

Eugenia Nim, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration Humanities Research Center (Moscow), Altai State University (Barnaul), Russia: ‘”Nanodemonstrations” as Media Events: Networked Forms of the Russian Protest Movement’

‘Nanodemonstrations’ first became part of the Russian protest movement in 2012. Originating in the northern town of Apatity, a wave of ‘doll protests’ – demonstrations and other citizen actions which were staged by using lego dolls and soft toys – swept over many Russian cities. Forbes Magazine included the nanodemonstrations which took place in the Siberian city of Barnaul in the list of ‘the 12 loudest art protest actions in Russia’. The activists used social media to organise these actions; nanodemonstrations were planned as media events from the start. In my talk, I will attempt to apply different methodological approaches to the phenomenon of nanodemonstrations – from the theories of mediatisation of politics to the conceptions of contested urban spaces. My discussion will offer the potential theoretical models and frameworks that can be developed to analyse similar mediatised and theatrical forms of civil resistance.

‘China’s Urban Environment, Past and Present’ Conference, 16-18 January 2014

 ‘China’s Urban Environment, Past and Present’ Conference, 16-18 January 2014

Following the success of our first workshop in Leicester in December 2012, we will be holding our main conference entitled ‘China’s Urban Environment, Past and Present’ at the University of Aberdeen on Thursday 16th-Saturday 18th January 2014.

We are seeking research papers of 30 minutes’ duration which relate to the theme of the urban environment in historical and/or contemporary China. This could include, but is not confined to, the following areas:

  • Managing/governing the city
  • Urban geographies
  • City planning
  • Urban culture as it relates to the environment of the city
  • Comparative approaches to China’s urban environments

If you wish to offer a paper, please send a proposed title and an abstract of no more than 200 words to the BICC’s Project Assistant, Grania Pickard ( by Wednesday 20 November. Enquiries may be directed to Isabella Jackson (