Conference programme: Re-envisioning gender in China

Free entrance with registration.

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Day 1 | Thursday, 14 February

Salle Somville – Bâtiment S.

13:00 Registration
14:00–14:15 Conference opening and welcome address
Vanessa Frangville (ULB), Jennifer Bond, Chang Liu, and Coraline Jortay
14:15–15:45 Keynote address
Gail Hershatter (UC Santa Cruz)
Blindspotting, gender, and China’s revolutions
15:45 Coffee break
16:00–17:45 Panel 1 | Re-envisioning audiences: gender, bodies, and readability
Discussant: Jennifer Althenger (KCL)
Chair: Coraline Jortay (ULB)
XIE Chen (Birmingham), Tang Women and the art of writing
GENG Yushu (Cambridge), A gendered reading public: obscene publications and spectatorship in Republican China
WANG Yang (U Colorado), The internalizing gaze: urban subjectivity and ink representations of peasant women in the early PRC
ZHOU Yunyun (Oxford), Narrating Funü ganbu: new discourses and visualisations of women cadres in China’s post-socialist media
18:00 Speakers’ dinner

Day 2 | Friday, 15 February

Grande salle du CIERL

8:30 Morning coffee
9:00–10:30 Panel 2 | Beyond Chineseness: intersectional approaches
Discussant: Vanessa Frangville (ULB)
Chair: Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen)
ZHU Jing (Humboldt), Visualising human differences in late imperial China: body, nakedness, and sexuality
Yasser NASSER (Chicago), The pedagogy of pan-Asian sisterhood: Xin Zhongguo funü and defending the peace of Asia
Aurélia ISHITSUKA (Genève), Visual encounters in global Shanghai: racial and gendered arrangements of bodies in a coworking space
10:30 Coffee break
10:45–12:30 Panel 3 | Gender, networks, and solidarities
Discussant: Gail Hershatter (UC Santa Cruz)
Chair: Jennifer Bond (Durham)
Rebecca Karl (NYU), Tracing feminist origins of Marxism in China
PI Chenying (Heidelberg), Becoming guimi (闺蜜): singleness, friendship, and the cosmopolitan city in Chinese popular culture
Harriet Evans (LSE), The invisibility of nannü pingdeng in an ‘old Beijing’ neighbourhood: grassroots perspectives on changing gender relations since the eve of the PRC
Béatrice Zani (Lyon 2), Towards a transnational ‘mutuality of being’: gendered solidarity networks, and affections between China and Taiwan
12:30 Lunch break
13:30–14:30 Talk
Derek Hird (Lancaster)
Re-envisioning China through gender: a critical gaze on masculinities and postsocialist modernity
14:45 Coffee break
14:45–16:30 Panel 4 | Queering masculinities on the page and screen
Discussant: Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (University of Lincoln)
Chair: David Paternotte (ULB)
HEE Wai-Siam (Nanyang Technological University), From amorous histories to sexual histories: tracing the origins of the term pi
GU Jingyi (UIUC), ‘Fanchuan’ on TV and ‘drag’ in the dance hall: gender impersonation and the legibility of Chinese queer identity
Pamela Hunt (Oxford), Good fellows on the road: masculinity and the Han Han phenomenon
Corrado Neri (Lyon 3), The SCUD enigma
16:30 Coffee break
16:45–18:30 Panel 5 | Gender in the digital age
Discussant: BAO Hongwei (Nottingham)
Chair: ZHOU Yunyun (Oxford)
Kara CHAN & Giovanna PUPPIN (Hong Kong Baptist University & Leicester), In the name of love? Exploring the representation of women, loving relationships, and marriage in Chinese controversial advertising campaigns
GUAN Zexu (Leiden), Beauty blog and micro-business: two ways to sell beauty in digital China
LIU Chiu Wan (SOAS), Changing marital power relations in the digital era? Negotiating the role of breadwinner and housekeeper in the Chinese Taobao families
Taliesin Thomas (Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts), Asexual sex: expanding visions of gender in contemporary Chinese art
20:00–21:30 Film screening & round table
WEI Tingting, Bichina (48 mins, OV with EN subtitles)
Salle de projection de la Maison des Arts (J56.3.303)
Stijin Deklerck (KUL/Liège, producer of Bichina), Stephanie Hemelryk Donald (University of Lincoln), Berenice M. Reynaud (Lyon 3), and Marie Vermeiren (Elles Tournent/Dames Draaien Film Festival).

Day 3 | Saturday, 16 February

Grande salle du CIERL

8:30 Morning coffee
9:00–10:45 Panel 6 | The body as a temple: inscribed mythologies
Discussant: Françoise Lauwaert (ULB)
Chair: Pamela Hunt (Oxford)
MA Xu (UC Irvine), Boudoir and temple: re-imagining women’s social spaces in later imperial China
Rachel Marsen & Linda Pittwood (University of the Arts London & Nottingham), ‘Gender scars’: women artists in China and beyond
Zhan Feifei (SOAS), Narcissus meets Cinderella: gaze, body, and mother-daughter relationship in Narcissus Went with Carp
Doris Sung (U Alabama), Sirens: the enchantresses of contemporary art in China
10:45 Coffee break
11:00–12:00 Talk
Pierre Kaser (Université Aix-Marseille)
Variations érotiques dans les fictions de Li Yu (1611–1680)
12:00–13:30 Concluding round table
Out of the ‘house of gender’ and into the world
Chair: Gail Hershatter
Jennifer Altehenger, Bao Hongwei, Stephanie Hemelryk Donald, Harriet Evans, Vanessa FrangvilleDerek Hird, and Rebecca Karl.
13:30 Beers & Brain
Join us to discuss the network’s future around drinks

Scientific committee: Jennifer Altehenger (KCL), Hongwei Bao (Nottingham), Jennifer Bond (Durham), Stijn Deklerck (KU Leuven), Eric Florence (Liège/CEFC HK), Derek Hird (Lancaster), Denise Y. HO (Yale), Michel Hockx (Notre Dame), Andrea Janku (SOAS), Françoise Lauwaert (ULB), Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen), LIU Jieyu (SOAS), David Paternotte (ULB).
Organizing committee: Vanessa Frangville, Eric Florence, Coraline Jortay, Chang Liu, Jennifer Bond.

Organized by China Academic Network on Gender(CHANGE) together with the Center for East Asian Studies (EASt) and the Structure de recherche interdisciplinaire sur le genre, l’égalité et la sexualité (STRIGES) at the Maison des Sciences humaines (MSH-ULB).
In partnership with the Université de Liège, the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS, the SOAS China Institute, the Department of History at King’s College London, and the Centre for Gender and Cultural Studies at East China Normal University (ECNU).

Call for papers: re-envisioning gender in China

Conference title: Re-Envisioning Gender in China
Dates: 14-16 February 2019
Location: Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
How do we re-envision gender in China? Conversely, how does gender allow us to re-envision China? Following feminist theorist bell hooks’ impetus that ‘There is power in looking’, and that probing ‘a critical gaze, one that “looks” to document, one that is oppositional’, the second conference of the China Academic Network on Gender (CHANGE) seeks to examine what new dynamics and power relations are transmitted, focused, defocused or blurred when gender is used as the prism to examine Chinese society and cultural practices.
Interdisciplinary at heart, the conference looks to articulate issues of gender in representation and spectatorship in the humanities and social sciences. What do such analyses reveal about the assumptions and narratives of voyeurism, gender-blindness, or masculine/feminine gazes? How are minorities (including sexual minorities) looked through or looked down upon? How do feminist and queer filmmakers seize gender as a lens in the literal sense? What about deliberate blurring practices of gender boundaries? How does re-envisioning gender allow us to look ‘against the grain’ at canonical texts, or to explore transgressive representations beyond ‘Chineseness’ and gender binaries?
This conference aims to bring together doctoral, postdoctoral and early career researchers working on gender and China. We welcome applications from a broad range of disciplines including but not limited to: gender studies, media studies, cultural studies, film studies, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, queer studies. The conference is particularly interested in individual contributions that contrast various approaches within gender studies and the cross-fertilisation that those lenses can bring … We particularly encourage papers in the following subject areas:
  • Uses of visual metaphors and links between the visual and non-visual
  • Analyses of visual media, including photography, cartoon, and film
  • Political uses of visual material as it relates to bodies, including propaganda
  • Representations of the LGBT+ community in media
  • Re-imagining bodies in visual imagery
  • Objectification and gendered gazes
  • Invisibilizing of marginalised groups
  • Mystical and religious visions of sex and sexuality
  • (Di-)visions of labour predicated on gender difference
  • Images and self-narratives that challenge and/or negotiate hierarchies of gender as forms of resistance

During the workshop participants will be encouraged to frame their own work in discussion with other researchers’ papers. They will also have the chance to gain feedback on their research from leading scholars in the field who will act as discussants in each panel session. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to enjoy the conference with a film screening related to the conference topic in the evening.

Outstanding papers will be selected for publication in a special issue of China Perspectives/Perspectives chinoises, a double-blind peer-reviewed journal indexed in the Emerging Sources Citation Index (Web of Science), as well as in 8 international databases (including SCOPUS).
Conceived as an inclusive space for dialogue between young researchers and established scholars, we hope the conference will also be an opportunity to envision the future development of this field of research and the growth of academic networks of solidarities.

Participating scholars

The keynote speaker, Prof. Gail Hershatter (UC Santa Cruz), is a historian of modern China, the author of several books on gender in twentieth-century China, including The Gender of Memory (UC Press, 2011) and Dangerous Pleasures (UC Press, 1997).
Prof. Pierre Kaser (Aix-Marseille University), who specialises in ancient Chinese literature, Chinese history, literary translation and methodology, will present his latest research. Dr Derek Hird (Lancaster University), who has done extensive research on Chinese men and masculinities in China and the UK, will also share his research. Dr Jennifer Altehenger (KCL), Prof. Vanessa Frangville (ULB), Dr Jieyu Liu (SOAS) and Prof. David Paternotte (ULB) will also participate as panel discussants.


Please send a 250 word abstract to, include your full name, institutional affiliation, email address, and a short bio before 31 October 2018. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in late November 2018, and successful applicants will need to submit full papers two weeks prior to the conference (1 February 2019). For further information, please contact the workshop committee at the above email address.


– Deadline for abstract: 31 October 2018
– Notification of acceptance: late November 2018
– Deadline for full submission: 1 February 2019


China Academic Network on Gender & l’Université libre de Bruxelles
Committee: Jennifer Bond (SOAS), Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen), Coraline Jortay (ULB)
This is the second in a series of CHANGE biennial conferences. The previous one was held in February 2017 in London.
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