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September 01, 2011

CFP: The Art of Neighbouring: Old Crossroads and New Connections along to PRC's Borders

Jointly organized by the Asian Migration Cluster and the Open Cluster, Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Date: 1 – 2 March 2012
Venue: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Websites: http://www.ari.nus.edu.sg/events_categorydetails.asp?categoryid=6&eventid=1209


What does China’s rise mean for its immediate neighbours? This simple question is what this workshop hopes to address. Reflecting on the PRC’s rapid economic growth, its strategic decisions to foster trade, secure influence and access to natural resources, and its efforts to prevent unrest in the borderlands, this workshop explores the ways in which people’s lives and futures are affected by living along the PRC’s borders.

For local societies situated within zones of contact, the close proximity to the PRC is becoming increasingly relevant. As rising China (the nation, the notion, the buzzword) channels aspirations, triggers fears, and creates opportunities, “the art of neighbouring” becomes a crucial skill in the borderlands – a skill that includes evading, openly opposing, making use of, or renegotiating the border situation.

The shared experience of neighbouring is shaped by the making of borders and their “closures” and “openings”. In the first half of the 20th century, the fuzziness of erstwhile frontier zones was replaced by sharp contours of the ‘geo-bodies’ of nation-states. Political and military conflicts between the PRC and its neighbouring states brought many long-established trans-border relations to a halt; more recently, new stimuli of economic growth and material prosperity readily impelled a momentum of “opening up”. As ancient crossroads emerge as zones of contact and translation again, borderland communities actively engage with new possibilities; they also become targets of new regulatory regimes to “manage” the flows of people and goods between nation states.

This workshop explores the ways in which the closure and re-opening of China’s borders condition the myriad realities of making as well as being China’s neighbours through peace and turmoil. By theorizing “the art of neighbouring”, this workshop offers an alternative perspective to observe the ordering of border practices and strategies, as well as to understand relations between nations, territories, geo-political positionalities, and historical connections.

We invite anthropologists, geographers, historians, political scientists and scholars from associated disciplines to submit paper abstracts to explore the following questions:

• How do new dreams and aspirations about China provoke desires of migration? How are migratory flows to and across national borders encouraged and facilitated?
• How are new regulatory regimes implemented? How do they redefine legality and illicitness, and how are these locally negotiated?
• What are the economic, political and social impacts of Chinese investment, development aid and designated special zones?
• How do newly arrived actors at the periphery engage with “native” borderlanders?
• What are the roles of rekindled ties of friendship, kinship, common religion or ethnicity in forging efficacious networks that promote greater cross-border mobility? How do remembering and forgetting, private and collective interpretations of “closure” and “opening up” as well as desire and anxiety shape borderland identities?
• And finally, how do imagined borders and fictive ties animate the dynamics between the “mainland” and the “diaspora”?


Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract (500 words maximum) and a brief personal biography of 150 words using the Paper Proposal Submission Form. Please send your form to Ms Valerie Yeo at valerie.yeo@nus.edu.sg, by 15 October 2011.

Successful applicants will be notified by 10 November 2011 and will be required to send in a draft paper (5,000 - 8,000 words) by 10 February 2012.

To accompany this workshop, we plan to organize a small-scale photo exhibition at the main venue. The objective of the photo exhibition is to attract attention and interest of people who are less familiar with the various borderlands adjacent to China. We hope that with a collection of photographs that portray everyday life in the borderland, the audience will appreciate the diversity, the transformations, the vulnerability and resilience of these diverse border zones.

We invite submissions of photographs on China’s borderlands, the cultural practices of border-crossings (literal as well as symbolic), and images that reflect the theme of “neighbouring”.

Submissions could be in both digital and non-digital forms. Please include copyright and caption information in your submissions. Digital photographs must be at least 2,400 pixels wide if a horizontal image or 2,400 pixels tall if a vertical image, in high-quality JPEG or RAW. We prefer original, unmodified camera images. If your files are larger than 5 MB, or if you wish to submit photographs in printed form, please contact the workshop convenors Dr Martin Sazxer (arijms@nus.edu.sg) and Dr Zhang Juan (arizj@nus.edu.sg).

Workshop Convenors

Dr Martin SAXER
Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Email: arijms@nus.edu.sg

Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore
Email: arizj@nus.edu.sg

Posted by katemw at September 1, 2011 08:27 AM


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