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Call for Papers


The 12th Annual CUHK Anthropology Postgraduate Student Forum

Precarious Asia: Resilience, Resistance and Reconciliation


Keynote Speaker: Judith Farquhar

(Department of Anthropology, The University of Chicago)


Time: 15-16 Feb 2020 (Cancelled)

Venue: Henry Cheng International Conference Centre
at Cheng Yu Tung Building


Precarity, as well as its companion, precariousness, has become a central concern in scholarly literature since the opening decade of the twenty-first century. In response to “the conditions of heightened vulnerability and aggression” emerged after the 9/11 attack, Judith Butler regards precariousness as an ontological condition of human interdependency (Butler 2004). We are living in a world of beings who are physically dependent on one another, thus physically vulnerable to one another (Butler 2004). Indeed, various changes of world political-economic conditions in the post-Cold War era bring uncertainty to the lives and livings all around the globe. The past several years has seen the global rise of populism and protectionism, the upsurging authoritarianism against the free world, the reorganization of labor into flexible regimes (Standing 2011, Parry & Hann 2018, Han 2018), the scale-up of social movements in coalition with social media (Mundt et al. 2018) and etc. Precarity depicts and conceptualizes this unpredictable cultural and economic landscapes and states of life (Kasmir 2018). 


Despite the unsettled question on whether the parlance of precarity is regionally contingent, the economic and social development in the past several decades undeniably paralleled the rise of vulnerability and fragility in Asia. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative has redrawn the borders of the nation-state and expresses its hegemony in Asia that bears on control over the trans-nationalized natural and energy resources (Rosario & Rigg 2019). The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 2011 not only precipitated calamitous ecological crisis of the country but also provoked memories of Japan's victimization and vulnerability at the end of the Pacific War (Allison 2013). The recent anti-extradition bill protests staged across Hong Kong demonstrate locals’ resistance to the unrelenting erosion of civil liberties as well as the unchecked power of police force, and accumulate their anger against the deteriorating living conditions. Asian experiences indicate that precarity, as a useful category of anthropological analysis, can be appreciated in a more general context beyond work and labor. How do Asian experiences enrich the meaning of precarity? Or more specifically, what forms of resilience and resistance do Asian people develop to deal with their precarious life? 


We invite paper contributions from across disciplines to discuss Asian experiences of precarity in the age of uncertainty. We propose to rethink precarity with regard to its expressions and perceptions in the Asian contexts and to ask to what extent precarity is an effective way to conceptualize the condition of Asia today.


Encouraged topics and themes include but are not limited to:

  • Labor, (Un)employment, and the Precariat
  • Identity, Citizenship & Social Movements
  • Mobility, Migration & Globalization
  • Ecological Sustainability and Resilience
  • Gender and Sexual Politics
  • Archaeology (Metallurgy and the Untamed Frontier; Interdisciplinary Perspective on Ancient Bronze)


Submission Guidelines

Proposal Submission Type

Individual Paper Proposal

Language for Proposal Submission

English only

Submission Method

Please submit your application and abstract (300 words max.) through online form

Proposal Submission Deadline

Oct. 25 (Fri), 2019 Extended to Nov. 15 (Fri), 2019, GMT+8

Announcement of Acceptance

Dec. 2 (Mon), 2019
Due to the large number of abstracts we received and the earlier termination of the semester, we are sorry but have to postpone the announcement of acceptance on Dec. 15 (Sun), 2019

Full Paper Submission Deadline

Jan. 1 (Wed), 2020


Forum Committee
Goel, Ina
Tsoi, David Kwok Kwan
Xiao, Yuqi
Zhang, Nan
Zheng, Yushuang

Zhong, Xinle



The Chinese Unviersity of Hong Kong

New Asia College,CUHK

Department of Anthropology, CUHK