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October 02, 2008

China Plural: Local Identity, Contesting Visions, and Constructing Nation (October 17-18, 2008) at The Ohio State University

This conference is to communicate, elaborate, and expand an interdisciplinary discourse on a multifaceted view on China. Since the 1990s as an emerging world power beyond the East Asian region, China has been one of the most speculated, researched, and analyzed topics in academia, mass media, and policy debates in the United States. However, the majority of studies and analysis on the topic have been framed within a simulacrum of China based on the imagined homogeneity of its history, people, and culture. This monolithic image, an awakened dragon to the call of the global capitalism, has shaped not only the studies of China, but also dominated the policy debates and public imagination of China in this country. By convening scholars working on local, linguistic, and cultural diversity of China, this conference will highlight the heterogeneous and dynamic inner workings of China, and examine the representation, construction, and reproduction of "a homogeneous China" both inside and outside its national boundary.

This October conference will consist of three panels focusing on local identity, contesting visions, and constructing nation in China. Each panel will have three presenters and one discussant. The local identity panel will focus on the development of regional networks and identities in different parts of China during various time periods. The contesting visions panel will study the emergence of increasing economic, political, and social stratification among residents of China, and analyze its implications for the future unfolding of Chinese society. The constructing nation panel will analyze how the notion of “One China? has been produced and circulated both in academic and public sphere throughout history and explore the construction of Chinese nationalism based on the notion of homogeneous “Han? minzu. A discussant in each panel will provide a comparative perspective on the papers presented and suggest a possibility and direction of a further collaborated research in the future.

Dr. Dru Gladney, the author of “Dislocating China (Chicago UP: 2006) and president of the Pacific Basin Institute, will be a keynote speaker for the event and other leading scholars in history, anthropology, and literature will participate in the conference. As an end product of the conference, the organizer and East Asian Studies Center of OSU plan to publish either an edited volume on "Multi-China: the Past, Present, and Future (tentative title)" or a special guest-edited issue of the leading journal, Modern Chinese Literature and Culture, based on the presented papers, discussion, and follow-up communications.

This two-day conference aims to provide a combination of formal panel discussion and informal exchange of ideas among the participants and the audience. Unlike a large scale event, this conference will provide more intimate yet innovating venue for twelve to fifteen participants to engage in a scholarly conversation over the weekend. For this purpose, the organizer will also host two exclusive dinners for the participants in locally renowned restaurants where they can exchange personal experiences and preliminary research projects in a friendly and casual setting. The organizer hopes that the conference will not only provide a timely opportunity to underline multi-dimensional aspects of China, but also offer a juncture where scholars of China can share their visions and advance further collaborations in the future.

Posted by zzhu at October 2, 2008 08:20 PM