International conference at Stockholm University,
15-16 August 2016

The research project “Exploring the China Dream. Trajectories and articulations of soft power in the sinophone world” would like to invite scholars and PhD students to the international conference to be held at Stockholm University, 15-16 August 2016. The project started thanks to the support of the STINT Initiation Grant and is led by Elena Pollacchi. The conference is funded by the Swedish Research Council. The keynote speakers are Gina Marchetti (Hong Kong University) and Paola Voci (Otago University, New Zealand), who also represent the two partner universities of the project.

Zhao Liang: Behemoth (2015)
Zhao Liang: Behemoth (2015)

The twenty-first century has been hailed as the Chinese century. In 2012 Chinese President Xi Jinping launched his leadership’s catchphrase the “China Dream”. This catchphrase has been associated with a Chinese, often negative, form of “soft power” capable of shaping both the region’s self-image and others’ perception of Chinese culture. This conference rethinks soft power, particularly the “China Dream” from different perspectives within sinophone cultures and in relation to the international scene and the global market. It seeks to examine the role of screen and literary cultures not just as articulations of a Chinese soft power, but rather how they contribute alternative perspectives on national imaginaries, political discourses, and new subjectivities.

The conference seeks to address the following questions:

  • How do fields of film, media and literature among others endorse or undermine the notion of the “China Dream”?
  • What kinds of hopes, dreams, alliances or futures does the China Dream inspire? And what kinds of conflicts and tensions can it incite?
  • How does the “China Dream” circulate and resonate in China and outside China?
  • How can issues of gender, ethnicity, and class be connected, contested or negotiated within the narrative of the “China Dream”?

The conference will mainly focus on screen cultures but will also include panels on literary cultures and topics related to different forms of political, visual, digital narratives. It aims to bring together researchers working in Sweden with internationally recognized scholars and PhD students with a common interest in articulations of soft power in order to discuss how visual and literary cultures complicate conceptualizations of a Chinese soft power.

This Call for Papers addresses two groups of participants:

  1. We invite academics to send a 250-word abstract for a twenty-minute paper and a 50-word biographical note. Topics are open, though preference will be given to those approaching and discussing the “China Dream” in challenging and innovative ways in the fields of screen, literary, visual culture and media.
  2. We also invite PhD students working on the abovementioned areas to present their dissertation outline or a chapter summary (250-word abstract and institutional affiliation to be sent in the first instance).

Requests for support for travelling and three nights’ accommodation can be considered. Please send your abstract by 25 March 2016 to the address Selected participants will be informed by 5 April 2016. 

Please feel free to circulate this Call for Papers to your contacts and to contact us for further information. The conference is coordinated by Elena Pollacchi (screen cultures) and Irmy Schweiger (literary cultures). We look forward to welcoming you to Stockholm in August 2016!