Call for Papers! The 13th Annual CUHK Anthropology Postgraduate Forum

Call for Papers 徵稿啓事

The 13th Annual CUHK Anthropology Postgraduate Forum

第十三屆 香港中文大學 人類學系 研究生論壇

Keynote Speaker 主題發言人: Edward Fischer

Time: Friday 11 Feb & Saturday 12 Feb 2022 日期:2022年2月11日至12日(週五及週六)

Venue: Online via Zoom 場地:綫上(使用Zoom應用程式)

Happiness and Wellbeing in Times of Crises 


We live in times of crises. The spread of COVID-19, together with concerns about climate change, environmental degradation, and socio-political unraveling have provided an overwhelmingly apocalyptic outlook of the world. In recent years, anthropologists have engaged in debates about ways to respond to the challenges of the Anthropocene – the current planetary era marked by the encompassing influence of human activities on the surface of the globe—and we are currently grappling with how to do research with (and on) COVID.  The future seems to be bleak; it holds out no hope for future happiness.

我們活在危機時代。COVID-19蔓延、氣候變遷、環境劣化、社會政治崩壞,諸多景象猶如末世來臨,世界前景極度黯淡。人類活動為地球表面帶來的影響是如此的深遠,以至於我們可以說世界進入了一個新的地質年代——“人類世” 。近年來,人類學家們已經在討論如何應對人類世的種種挑戰。而現在,我們也正在學習如何在新冠病毒的蔓延下進行學術研究(或研究新冠病毒本身)?前景看似一片灰暗,未來的幸福似乎無跡可尋。

But is it really so? While these crises have caused havoc and suffering, they also potentiate new ideas, projects, and ways of life. How have concepts of wellbeing and happiness been reconceptualized? Are ideas of happiness universal? Is happiness always something desirable and to be pursued? What new kinds of intimacies have emerged to simulate and subvert the “normal”? How have social, economic, religious, and political institutions reorganized the meaning of “business-as-usual”? What new strategies emerged for animating work and play? What creative ways for surviving marginality got spawned by waiting things out resiliently? Are new communication technologies advancing our wellbeing or undermining such prospects? What new models of human-nonhuman entanglements offer hope for the future? What new collectivities and visions for the future are being forged at these critical junctures?  


Anthropologists are well-positioned to study the human dynamics of  crises. Fieldwork, and the ethnographic encounters that come with it, put them in a unique position to capture the multiple ways people pursue happiness and wellbeing in a diverse array of contexts. Their tools allow them to generate portraits of people’s lived experiences and demonstrate how happiness varies; different places, different societies, and different cultures would each have different versions. Concurrently, archaeologists can provide valuable insights on facing crises. Their work is ultimately aimed towards the future rather than to return to the past. Archaeological research investigates the fortunes and struggles of ancient peoples to reveal how they managed to get through tough times. The hope is that learning from the past may open new paths for envisioning future worlds. 


This year’s Postgraduate Student Forum invites a collective conversation between these novel imaginations and experiments for better futures. The forum accepts theoretical reflections, methodological deliberations, and personal contemplations from a wide variety of fields. We welcome anthropological—and related works, on the varied and provocative ways people act in “pursuits of happiness” (Mathews and Izquierdo 2009).

今年的研究生論壇,就各種嚮往更好的未來的想像及實驗,廣邀各家展開對話。本論壇接受來自不同學科背景的關於理論思考、方法探索,以及個人研究反思的稿件。我們歡迎人類學,或與人類學相關的,探索“快樂追尋”(Mathews and Izquierdo 2009)各異其趣的作品。


Encouraged topics and themes include but are not limited to:

Values, meanings, and measures of happiness and wellbeing

Improving happiness and wellbeing through public policy

Consuming happiness and the happiness industry

Languages and expressions of happiness and wellbeing

Disembodied intimacies and social connections

Community festivals, collective rituals, and social celebrations

Happiness and wellbeing across diverse socio-cultural categories, i.e., children, aged, sick, disabled, displaced, etc.

Happiness and wellbeing during fieldwork 

Wellbeing and material conditions of ancient societies

Biocultural and evolutionary perspectives on happiness and wellbeing

Cross-border mobility and immobility

States of desires and aspirations  

Marginality, oppression, and finding satisfaction in political expressions

Equity and social justice movements

Human rights, justice, and freedom

Ecological sustainability and resilience





















Mathews, Gordon, and Carolina Izquierdo, eds. 2009. Pursuits of Happiness: Well-Being in Anthropological Perspective. New York: Berghahn Books.


Abstract Submission

Proposal Submission Type: Individual Paper Proposal

Language for Submission and Presentation: English only

Submission Method: Please submit your application and abstract (300 words max) through the online form

Proposal Submission Deadline: 12 Nov (Fri)

Announcement of Acceptance: 3 Dec (Fri)

Full Paper Submission Deadline: 31 Dec (Fri) (Word limit for the full papers: 2750-3000 words)

Conference Date: 11-12 February 2022


Forum Committee: 

Angelini, Gabriella 

Chen, Yutong

Chow, Kootyin

Del Rosario-Rondilla, Aileen

Zhang, Jingwen



Faculty of Arts, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


For more information contact:

The Forum Committee anthforum@cuhk.edu.hk

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