Announcement and Call for Papers
2011 Melbourne Conference on China
The City, the Countryside and the World – China’s urban and rural transformations and their global connections
Date: Saturday, 6 August and Sunday, 7 August 2011
Venue: The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Organiser: Asia Institute, Faculty of Arts, the University of Melbourne
The Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne is pleased to announce the 2011 Melbourne Conference on China, to be held at the University of Melbourne on Saturday, 6 August and Sunday, 7 August 2011. We invite researchers, policy makers and advisers, educators, industry representatives, representatives of professional and other bodies, and independent scholars and experts working anywhere in the world and in any area of China studies to meet in Melbourne - the ‘New Gold Mountain’ for Chinese settlers in the 1850s, and now Australia’s ‘capital of culture’ - to consider the complex developments (both contemporary and historical) in China’s cities and countryside and in China’s wider global setting, and to explore the interactions between these different domains.
The changes that have taken place in China in the past few decades are widely acknowledged as being amongst the most rapid, far-reaching and momentous in human history. At the core of these changes are two major transformations: a closer and transformed relationship between the cities and the countryside, and a fundamentally altered relationship between China and the outside world. What happens in China's rural and urban areas now has a direct effect on almost every part of the planet, while the growing impact of global processes can now be felt even in the most remote parts of China's countryside. Some previous accounts of China's mid-20th century political upheavals have interpreted the success of the Chinese revolution as the product of two factors: the successful mobilisation of rural grievances, and nationalist resentment at China's subordinated position in the world’s political and economic order. One current interpretation of the contemporary Chinese state is that the state derives its legitimacy from its success in transforming the Chinese economy from a predominantly agricultural economy to a predominately urban and industrial one, and from integrating China into the global economy.
This conference will engage with current research on rural and urban social, political, economic, cultural, environmental and other conditions in China and on the relationship between China and the rest of the world. It seeks to unite specific studies on particular aspects - rural, urban, or global - with examination of the interrelationships between them. The organisers welcome empirical studies on any aspect of this broad topic, and also look forward to receiving proposals that situate recent developments within a longer historical perspective, to explore how the current ordering of these relationships might be seen not so much as a radical break with the past but as a successor to much older patterns of interaction between the cities and the countryside and between China and the outside world.
The conference takes a multi-disciplinary approach. It seeks to bring together researchers from the humanities and social sciences and from areas such as economics, law, education, health, logistics, engineering, architecture and planning, and environmental studies. The key objective of the 2011 Melbourne Conference on China is to explore the interplay between rural, urban and global phenomena from a plurality of perspectives so as to integrate diverse forms of analysis in a productive dialogue. It is expected that a selection of the conference papers will be published.
The issues to be discussed include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. New developments in urban and rural China and their world contexts
• Socio-economic transformations occurring in China’s urban, rural and global environments, and the interrelationships between them
• China's massive engineering projects and their impacts on rural, urban and global social and physical environments
• The impact of modern technologies and the promotion of science education on Chinese society in urban, rural and global settings
2. Planning, architecture and built environments in the city and the country and beyond
• New urban and rural planning concepts, approaches and problems, and new architectural styles that evoke the dream of an age of ‘Pax Sinica’
• Cultural and philosophical dimensions of the Chinese built environment in China’s modern history and during its most recent transformations
• Spatial, formal and symbolic characteristics of the new Chinese built environment, from the countryside to the cities
3. Rural, urban and global governance and institutions
• Institutional changes and new public policies resulting from industrialisation, urbanisation, economic growth, and other forms of commercialisation and their effects in the countryside, the cities and in the wider world
• New systems of law and governance - in particular a stronger awareness of rights in urban and rural China -as well as the impact of these systems on China’s engagement with the world
• Connections and disconnections between regional systems and regional development strategies, socio-cultural development, urbanisation and eco-environmental protection
4. Health - rural, urban and global dimensions
• Urban, rural and global health issues, especially the health effects of China’s rapidly growing and massive cities in both a domestic and a global context
• Large-scale epidemics, such as the emerging risk of HIV/AIDS epidemics, in the countryside, the cities and their global implications
5. Environmental sustainability as an urban, rural and global question
• Environment as a local, national and global concern and its impact on China’s socio-political stability
• China’s low carbon development, especially the development of China’s low carbon cities and low carbon economy, and the concept of low carbon life
6. Mobility, migration, ethnic and diaspora issues – from the country to the city to the world:
• Emerging trends in and patterns of internal migration, international migration and other demographic aspects of China’s urban and rural and global realities
• Ethnic minorities in urban and rural China and in the international diaspora, especially the development of ethnically-defined economies, ethnic entrepreneurship, ethnic education, and the protection of ethnic and linguistic heritage
• Brain-drain phenomena domestically and internationally, and their impact on human resource development and on structures of human, cultural and intellectual capital
• Education and its role as an upward social mobility mechanism in the cities and the countryside and as a cause of urbanisation and global mobility
• Transnational marriages and the formation of Western, African, and Asian minority communities in China
7. Media and Chinese perceptions of others – world contexts and local realties
• The changing nature of China’s mass media, social media and media use in rural, urban, national and international settings
• Urban and rural Chinese people’s perceptions of their neighbouring countries, big and small, rich and poor
• Information technologies, and their impacts on rural and urban lives in China and global linkages
8. Culture, religion and gender from the villages to the cities to the world stage
• The revival of the Confucian tradition at local, regional, national and international levels and its relationship to other social phenomena
• Chinese traditional and popular culture in rural, urban, national and international settings
• Religious activities in cities, the countryside and the diaspora, and their relationship to Chinese secularism
• Gender and sexuality in urban and rural areas, and changing attitudes to gender-related issues
Papers or presentations examining any other aspect of these broad themes from any other perspective not mentioned above are also welcome.
Leading scholars and policy advisers from Australia, China, the United Kingdom, the United States and other parts of Asia have been invited to address the conference.
Expressions of Interest
Please submit an abstract of up to 500 words, no later than Friday, 20 May 2010, to the following email address: Conference-on-China@unimelb.edu.au
The abstract must be in English and must contain the proposed title of the paper, the author’s name and home institution and a brief bio of no more than 150 words, along with contact details, including postal address in English (or Chinese if applicable). All submissions will be acknowledged in writing upon receipt via email. Other inquiries may also be sent to the above email address, or to the contact people listed below.
Each presentation will be for 20 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for discussion. The conference will be conducted in English, but a few sessions will be bilingual and conducted in both English and Chinese.
Venue and Accommodation
All sessions will be held on the University of Melbourne campus on Saturday, 6 August 2011 and Sunday, 7 August 2011.
Those attending the conference will be responsible for organising their own travel and accommodation, and some meals. The Conference Organising Committee will soon post more information about hotels located within a 15 minute walking distance of the University of Melbourne.
Deadlines: Submission of abstracts: Friday, 20 May 2011
Notification of acceptance: Friday, 27 May 2011
Conference programme: Friday, 10 June 2011
Standard registration: Friday, 24 June 2011
Registration: All attendees should send a completed registration form (by email – contact person to be advised) after receiving notification of acceptance.
A standard conference fee of AU$100 is payable when you register. Postgraduate students are entitled to a discount of 50% on their registration fee.
More information about the registration form and fee, as well as hotels located within walking distance of the University of Melbourne, will be available in February 2011 on the official Asia Institute website at: http://www.chinastudies.unimelb.edu.au/conferences/2011/index.html
Contacts: Conference Organising Committee, Asia Institute, the University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia.
If you have questions about the conference, feel free to email
Dr Gao Jia at email@example.com or
Dr Lewis Mayo at firstname.lastname@example.org
Program and Website:
The Programme: Please visit the conference website for updates.
The first draft program is expected after Friday, 10 June 2011.
Information relating to this conference may be found on various websites, but the official Asia Institute website provides the most up-to-date source: http://www.chinastudies.unimelb.edu.au/conferences/2011/index.html
Dr Gao Jia at email@example.com or
Dr Lewis Mayo at firstname.lastname@example.org
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