Call for Papers: Studying Rural Chinese Society in the 21st Century: Emerging Themes and New Challenges

Jerusalem, Israel

9 – 11th Mar 2015

Confirmed keynote speaker: Jonathan Unger (ANU)
Rural Chinese society is currently undergoing dramatic change. The previously rigid institutional divisions between rural and urban populaces are weakening; the Chinese government is investing ever greater resources in the improvement of rural life, and the speed of urban-rural integration is increasing. As greater numbers of villagers are migrating to urban areas or even abroad in search for work, many are establishing their residence in the city while leaving behind young children and the elderly. Others are returning to the now-changing countryside, bringing with them new values and practices. Meanwhile, in situ urbanization in some areas enables rural inhabitants to earn their income in nearby cities and towns without detaching themselves from their natal communities. Increased access to new sources of information, especially through the Internet and new social media channels, is also bringing Chinese cities and villages closer than ever.
These developments raise new challenges and new questions for scholars of contemporary rural Chinese society. What exactly is “the Chinese countryside” today and how do we define “rural society” in an age of fast-breaking boundaries between urban and rural areas? How are recent social and economic developments transforming rural spaces and the lives, identities and perceptions of individuals, families, and communities in the Chinese countryside? Finally, what theoretical and methodological implications do these transformations have for the study of contemporary rural Chinese society?
To address these issues, we call for original, unpublished papers which draw on empirical research and/or offer new conceptualization of the study of rural Chinese society in the twenty-first century. Suggested topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:
·         Contemporary rural economy: changing practices and institutions
·         The role of land (and its absence) in shaping contemporary rural life
·         The effects of state projects on the lives and perceptions of individuals, families and communities
·         Grassroots self-governing and leadership: new trends and their impacts on rural life
·         The role of the city in the lives of contemporary rural residents
·         Rural consumption practices of material and/or popular culture products and their effect on lifestyles and subjectivities
·         Transformations of gender and familial relations
·         The changing class structure of rural Chinese society and its implications for individuals, households, and communities
·         Emergent identities, counter-identities, and subcultures in the contemporary Chinese countryside
Abstracts of 500 words, with five lines of biographical information, should be submitted electronically to:
Deadline for submission: October 8, 2014
Notification of acceptance: November 8, 2014
To facilitate discussion during the conference, presenters will be asked to pre-circulate their papers by February 23, 2015
*Pending budgetary approval, accommodation will be provided during the conference. However, paper presenters should secure their own funding for travel.
Conference Organizers:
Dr. Lior Rosenberg, Asian Studies Department and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Dr. Orna Naftali, Asian Studies Department and the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Enquiries can be addressed to the conference organizers


Leave a Comment