The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought disproportionately negative effects on communities based on race, class, age, and health. At the same time, it has amplified expressions of anti-Asian racism in the West and reinforced authoritarian repression of marginalized peoples in Sinophone spaces such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Guangzhou. Yet amidst the public health crisis and at great risk to those involved, protest cultures are transforming worldwide, building upon earlier movements but engendering novel and creative modes of articulating, performing, and signal-boosting dissent and ally-ship across geopolitical, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. For example, previously marginalized Indigenous and Black/Brown voices within LGBTQ movements are now vitally foregrounded, including in Sinophone contexts. In December 2018, the first-ever queer Indigenous Adju Festival was held in Pingtung County in Taiwan with the goal of providing a beacon of support for Indigenous Taiwanese LGBTQ youth in the wake of the previous month’s popular vote defeat of the ROC’s national referendum on marriage equality. Less than six months later, marriage equality was enacted in Taiwan, and amidst the global pandemic in June 2020, Taipei was one of the only sites in the world where a LGBTQ Pride Parade proceeded, with many marchers wearing rainbow-flagged protective masks. Furthermore, the past decade has witnessed a string of protests that are linked by similar concerns of authoritarian politics and violence, for example, between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Activists and protesters have drawn inspirations from and stood in solidarity with one another from the Sunflower Movement in Taiwan to the Umbrella Movement and the Anti-extradition Law demonstrations in Hong Kong. Taking stock of these interconnected and creatively adaptive expressions of dissent and alliance building provides an opportunity to generate new frameworks for understanding, interpreting, and amplifying the broader theoretical, methodological, and relational salience of such expressions.
The inaugural SSS Biennial Conference in 2021 seeks to encourage interarea, interdisciplinary, and cross-methodological perspectives on multisensory modes of expressing dissent and ally-ship across the Sinophone world. This could include work that considers the range of senses (the sensoria) that produce, convey, underscore, or reflect the cultural, historical, and political vibrancy, precarity, or complexity of (as well as challenges facing) the formation of alliances and resistance movements within or between different Sinophone spaces. Particularly welcome are works that exceed or depart from the reductive discursive frameworks of liberal universalist humanism vs. nationalist/racialist difference (i.e. pan-Chinese or East Asian exceptionalisms) that often dominate the lens through which Sinophone conditions are viewed. These senses may include but also transcend the audiovisual to consider haptic, tactile, or kinetic perception (touch, taste, smell, etc.) or different (meta)physical states and activities (pain, disability, hallucination, exercise, dreaming, etc.). How might such approaches 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 non-Han), or the non-Sinophone (Sinophone+)? How might a multisensory approach to Sinophone dissent and ally-ship transform Sinophone studies or other disciplinary conventions?
*SSS welcomes individual submissions from scholars of all ranks and all academic institutions and is committed to fostering diversity and equity in its conference and membership proceedings. To submit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following: a 250-word (max) abstract, 100-word bio (including affiliation), and stated preference for participation modality (online or in-person) by August 28, 2020. We highly encourage all conference applicants to register for a free SSS membership by visiting https://www.sinophonestudies.org/membership. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic and public/financial health concerns, accommodations will be made for participants who prefer to present remotely rather than travel to the host venue. SSS is committed to prioritizing the health and safety of all participants. SSS is in the process of applying for additional funding for the conference, details pending.