Call for Papers – Conference: Categories, Digital Reconfiguration and Mobility in China

University of Copenhagen, Denmark
18-20th May 2022
Deadline: 15th Feb 2022

The conference is a joint opening conference for the Network Categorizing People and Resources in Contemporary China (CatCh) and the Moving Data – Moving People (MDMP) project on mobility and China’s social credit system. The conference aims to provide an open interdisciplinary forum for discussing the potential of categorization and configuration as original and innovative approaches to study social life, relations, practices, and governance in China. Against a backdrop of increasing digitalization and strained relations of trust, how are technologies of categorization and configuration reproduced and transformed in social relationship and digital governance?


The conference especially invites papers on the following three themes

histories of categorization. (e.g. historical forms of social categorization, reconfiguration of categorization based on for instance gender, place of origin and ethnicity)

digital categorization. (e.g. the Social Credit System, digital reconfiguration, defining and selecting digital indicators, blacklisting, digital governance, health apps and Covid-19 governance)

mobility and categorization. (e.g. domestic and international migration, digital spatial boundaries, grid management, Covid-19 and mobility)

The conference will organize sessions that contain both oral presentations and work in progress papers, the latter with extended feedback.


Genia Kostka, Freie Universität, Berlin.

Julia Chuang, University of Maryland.

Marion Fourcade, UC Berkeley.

Plans for the Future

The opening conference will be the starting point for establishing the CatCh network as a forum for developing research on the reconfiguration of categories in contemporary China. During the coming three years, the network will organize a number of workshops on for instance histories of categorization, digital categorization, and ethnographies of categorization, as well as potentially a PhD course. Conference participants are invited to take part in open discussions of future network activities.

Deadlines and practicalities

February 15, submit an abstract allocated to one of the three specific themes (250 words) to
March 1, acceptance of abstracts
April 30, Submission of paper drafts for those submitting papers

There is funding available for travel and hotel reimbursements – let us know if you will need this when you
submit your abstract. Early career researchers will be given priority.

Conference Conveners: University of Copenhagen, The IT University of Copenhagen, and Aalborg University.
Please contact Jesper Zeuthen ( if you have any questions about the conference

Download this announcement as PDF: Cfp Categories, Digital Reconfiguration and Mobility in China