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Calls For Papers: Post-humanism in Modern Chinese Culture (Deadline: May 1, 2018)

The University of New Hampshire invites proposals for papers concerning post-humanism in modern Chinese culture.


September 29th-30th, 2018, University of New Hampshire

Keynote Speaker: Xudong Zhang (Professor of Comparative Literature and East Asian Studies, New York University)

As with other modern cultures, China in the 20th and 21st century faces the fundamental challenge of re-defining what it means to be human under the changed historical situation. Humanism has unsurprisingly gained wide currency along the way. Humanist discourse not only played a crucial part in launching the New Culture Movement in early 20th century and in re-orienting the intellectual culture in the post-Mao era of 1980s, it also functions as a general underlying principle for many cultural productions and intellectual discussions in modern China.

On the other hand, however, the re-definition of the human has also taken a direction that might be characterized as a posthumanist approach, in the sense that it questions the rationalist premise of humanism and challenges the humanist division between human and animal, and between nature and culture. Posthumanism has never acquired the same level of discursive coherence and prominence as humanism, and sometimes even expresses itself in humanist terms. Despite this fact, however, it has nevertheless persisted as a significant intellectual trend, finding its spokesman in some of the most prominent modern Chinese minds, including Lu Xun. With the rapidly changing social and technological conditions in recent years, in particular, posthumanism has come to assume an increasingly important role in contemporary Chinese culture.

This conference invites papers to explore the theme of posthumanism in modern Chinese culture. We especially welcome papers from the fields of literary studies, film studies, and intellectual history. Issues to be addressed may include but not limited to the following topics:

  • the relation between human and animal
  • figures of embodiment
  • the interaction between organism and environment
  • the intersection between biology and ethics
  • the relation between human and machine
  • technology and the transformation of the body
  • the exteriority and alterity/otherness of the self
  • the materiality of linguistic and aesthetic forms
  • aesthetic inventions

Paper proposals should be up to 250 words in length and include a list of 3-5 keywords. Please send a proposal and a short bio in one pdf file by May 1st2018 to: Acceptance notifications will be sent out by May 31st 2018.

Meals and lodging for two nights will be covered for all conference participants.

This conference is sponsored by the Confucius Institute, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and the Center for the Humanities at the University of New Hampshire.