Call for papers: Making Gender in China

Third Biennial Conference of the China Academic Network on Gender

Conference title: Making Gender in China: Third Biennial Conference of the China Academic Network on Gender 

Dates: March 29-May 3, 2022. 2hr panels will be held weekly as a virtual conference series on Tuesdays, Toronto time (EST, UTC-5).  

Location: York University, Toronto (online)

Deadline for Abstracts (250 words) – 7 January 2022 
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We are pleased to announce that the Third Biennial Conference of the China Academic Network on Gender (CHANGE) will be hosted virtually by York University, Toronto. 

The theme of the conference will be ‘Making Gender in China.’ We seek to explore how gender is enacted, negotiated, and disrupted through objects and in the process of making them. How does scrutinizing things (a poem, a cookbook, a translation, a sword, a piece of furniture, noodles, an online protest, or a piece of legislation) help inform and reshape our understanding of gender in China itself? Indeed, material culture and gender studies share a reciprocal methodological outlook on the construction of societal norms. They ask not only how objects – or gender – are being shaped by society, but also how the material world – or gender – in turn shape society itself. Within Chinese studies, fruitful articulations between material culture and gender studies have first focused on areas such as dress, spinning, weaving (Bray, 1997; Ko, 2005). Recent work has expanded into the realm of literati’s writing apparatus, dictionaries and other domestic objects such as furniture, drawing our attention to the importance of interrogating the materiality of the everyday (Ko, 2017; Althenger and Ho, forthcoming). This workshop invites scholars to explore further how gendered divisions of labour or gender roles inform and shape the social lives of objects and vice-versa. If we take gender as a site of social construction, one that is “made,” what do we see when we turn to literal sites where construction takes place: shipyards, factory-floors, theatres, media broadcasting houses, the scholars’ study or the inner quarters? What symbolic and practical social roles do these objects then play in the creation of gender dynamics of daily life? How can they in turn be subverted or redirected from the intention of the maker in the uses to which they are put?

The conference aims to bring together scholars (including doctoral, postdoctoral, early, mid and advanced career researchers) from the humanities and social sciences working on gender and China. We seek proposals that articulate issues of gender in relation to material culture, or dealing more broadly with gender in relation to the physicality of objects, their use and making. 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. We particularly encourage papers in the following subject areas:

      • Socialization and the construction of gendered identities through material culture: children’s textbooks, picture books, lianhuanhua, dolls.
      • Spatiality of the city or the house: streets, department stores, factories, space arrangements within the house as testaments to gender roles.
      • Gender, corporeality, dress, and makeup: from everyday life to performance costumes, cosmetics-making, or drag.
      • Gender and foodways: food-making and transmission of recipes (oral storytelling, recipe books), lives of kitchen objects, alcohol-making and consumption.
      • Gender and waste: thrift shops, recycling facilities, waste collection, various calls to “purity.”
      • Gender in the history of technology: handicraft, tools, weapons, machines and robots.
      • Digital materiality: data, computer code, digital humanities approaches to gender.
      • Gendered lives of objects in literature and metaphorical associations between objects and gender.
      • Visual production of gendered stereotypes: portraiture, political cartoons, photography.
      • Gender in the materiality of the archive: ribbons, ink stains, flowers, and their backstories, alternative material sources.
      • Gender on display: museumification and art collections, and curating.

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. Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy informal (virtual) coffee sessions for members of the network to meet new people working in the field. Outstanding papers will be selected for publication in an edited volume.

Participating scholars

The opening keynote speaker, Prof. Joan Judge (University of York), is a cultural historian of modern China with a scholarly focus on print culture and women’s history at the turn of the twentieth century. She will deliver the opening keynote speech on her book project entitled ‘China’s Mundane Revolution: Vernacularizing Science and Scientizing the Vernacular in the Long Republic,’ exploring the production of everyday knowledge that shaped modern China.

The closing keynote speaker, Professor Wang Zheng (University of Michigan) will share her latest research on gender in practice.  Her latest book, (Finding Women in the State, 2016) focuses on the struggles of PRC feminists to carve out their own spaces within the state after the 1949 revolution.


Please send a 250-word abstract to, including your full name, institutional affiliation, email address, and a short biography before 7 January 2022. Scholars whose papers have been selected for the conference will be notified by early February 2022, and successful applicants will need to submit a paper two weeks prior to their session (29 March-3 May 2022). 


– Deadline for abstract: 7 January 2022

– Notification of acceptance: early February 2022

– Deadline for full submission: two weeks prior to session date (29 March-3 May 2022) 


The conference will be held online weekly in March-May 2022 on Tuesdays: 29th March, 5th April, 12th April, 19th April, 26th April, 3rd May. Each 2-hr online session will be held on Toronto Time (EST, UTC-5), between 8am-8pm. Exact timings will be decided with consideration being given to the location of the panelists, discussants and chairs for each session. To help replicate the close-knit atmosphere of a regular conference, we are also planning to have “coffee break” private discussion sessions for presenters to chat and get to know one another.


China Academic Network on Gender & University of York

Committee: Chris Vogel (University of York), Jennifer Bond (University College Dublin), Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen), Coraline Jortay (University of Oxford).


This online conference series is sponsored by a grant from the Canada-China Initiatives Fund (CCIF).

This is the third in a series of CHANGE biennial conferences, postponed from 2021 to 2022 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous conferences were held in February 2019 in Brussels, and February 2017 in London. 

Call for Papers – Precarious Peripheries: Gender from the Margins of China

Special issue of Sextant, with the China Academic Network on Gender

Deadline for Abstracts (500 words) – Deadline extension: 01 December 2019
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The construction and imagination of China’s margins (ethnic, political, socio-cultural, geographical, religious) has long engrossed China scholars – from anthropological works such as William Skinner’s classic study of historical geography and the macro region model, to travel writers from Marco Polo to San Mao, to ethnographies of Chinese minorities and new Qing histories. In recent years, academic attention has widened its scope to new margins including environmental histories of China’s politically contested borders, and the projection of China’s soft power in contemporary science fiction that claims space as the newest frontier of the Sinosphere.

However, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of gender in imagining and creating China’s shifting centers and peripheries. What and where are these margins and what role does gender play in their construction and imagination? Who are the inhabitants of the margins: minorities, women, religious groups, itinerants, disabled people and the poor? In what ways does gender condition their experience of the peripheral spaces in which they operate. What are the social and gendered implications of traversing these boundaries ⁠— personal, political or physical? How do marginal actors negotiate their place at the borders and what is the impact of their positioning and perspectives on the very conception of Chineseness? A gendered perspective can better help scholars to transverse and dissect the borders of China, historically, socially, politically and geographically, and throw new light onto their fluid and permeable construction across time and space.

This special issue aims to ignite conversations that interrogate the notion of margins from contemporary and historical perspectives. We welcome contributions from any discipline with a research focus on gender and China, including but not limited to: gender studies, media studies, cultural studies, film studies, religious studies, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, and queer studies. We welcome especially analyses bearing on ethnicity and engaging with intersectional analysis — a framework first articulated in the pathbreaking works of Kimberlé Crenshaw to articulate how “race and gender intersect in shaping structural, political, and representational aspects of violence against women of color” (Kimberlé Crenshaw 1994).

Contributions could explore the following axes:

        • Conceptualisations of intersectionality in China, and tentatives for cross-cultural feminist solidarities
        • Spaces of tension between gender as a social construct and linguistic gender, comparisons of gender-inclusive language in official and marginalized topolects and linguistic practices, music, film and literature
        • Problematizations and historicizations of gender in the geographical margins of what is today China, real or imagined — including but not limited to: central China, rural North China, tier 3 cities, Hong Kong and Macau, autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet,…), online spaces, and the diasporas
        • Views from the LGBTQ+ and other historically marginalized communities. For instance, intersections between gendered identities and religious or disabled identities, and awareness-raising practices


Please send a 500 word abstract to:, including your full name, institutional affiliation, email address and a short bio before 1 December 2019. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in December 2019, and successful applicants will need to submit full papers by 1 March 2020. All submissions will then be submitted to a double-blind peer review process, based on which contributions to be published in the January 2021 issue of Sextant will be selected. For further information, please contact the guest editors at the above email address.

Research articles can be submitted in English or in French. They should be no longer than 8,000 words and follow the format of articles guidelines available here. Further precisions on formatting will be sent to applicants preselected at the abstract review stage.


Muriel Andrin (Université libre de Bruxelles), Jean-Didier Bergilez (Université libre de Bruxelles), Mylène Botbol-Baum (Université catholique de Louvain), Annalisa Casini (Université catholique de Louvain), Natacha Chetcuti-Osorovitz (Université libre de Bruxelles), Nicole Gallus (Université libre de Bruxelles), Claire Gavray (Université de Liège), Nathalie Grandjean (Université de Namur), Stéphanie Loriaux (Université libre de Bruxelles), Danièle Meulders (Université libre de Bruxelles), Nouria Ouali (Université libre de Bruxelles), Bérengère Marques-Pereira (Université libre de Bruxelles), Charlotte Pezeril (Université Saint-Louis), Cécile Vanderpelen (Université libre de Bruxelles)


Christine Bard (Université d’Angers), Eric Fassin (Université Paris VIII), David Halperin (University of Michigan), Hilde Heinen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Jane Jenson (Université de Montréal), Peter Jackson (Australian National University), Patricia Roux (Université de Lausanne), Joan Scott (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)


Christophe Adam (Université libre de Bruxelles/Université catholique de Louvain), Valérie André (Fonds de la recherche scientifique/Université libre de Bruxelles), David Berliner (Université libre de Bruxelles), Laura Calabrese (Université libre de Bruxelles), Amandine Lauro (Fonds de la recherche scientifique/Université libre de Bruxelles), Maïté Maskens (Université libre de Bruxelles), Anne Morelli (Université libre de Bruxelles), Sile O’Dorchai (Université libre de Bruxelles), Marie-Geneviève Pinsart (Université libre de Bruxelles), Isabelle Rorive (Université libre de Bruxelles), Laurence Rosier (Université libre de Bruxelles), Barbara Truffin (Université libre de Bruxelles)


Jennifer Bond (University College Dublin), Coraline Jortay (Université libre de Bruxelles) and Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen)


Established at the initiative of Eliane Gubin in 1993, Sextant is an open-access double-blind peer-reviewed academic journal established with the University Presses of the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) since 2008. Interdisciplinary at core, Sextant is the main journal specialized in women and gender studies in francophone Belgium. Dedicated to making original research accessible to all, the journal is moving to the online platform Open Editions by 2020. Meanwhile, back issues are available freely on the website of the University Press.


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