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What use is Chinese Studies in a pandemic?

This question is part provocative part serious. At these extraordinary times, what can our discipline offer to enhance understanding, provide different perspectives, or simply information as we are trying to manage an unprecedented global crisis? At a moment when hard scientists are back in favour, what can a different type of expert contribute that is of benefit beyond our academic community and of value to enhancing our response here in Britain?

What does our expertise on China/Hong Kong/ Taiwan/the Chinese diaspora lead us to predict about the long term impact of this crisis as far as foreign relations, international education, and global understanding are concerned? What do we learn about the role of race, nation, and community in our response to the crisis? What responsibility does the media have? How do we negotiate the safe-guarding of liberties and a responsibility for society as a whole? What are we learning about surveillance, rights, and duties as citizens?

In a different vein, what entertainment, distraction, delight, or comfort can Chinese literature, culture, film, and philosophy offer in these challenging times? What new art forms are created? What role does social media play? What can Chinese humour tell us?

What future research questions arise from this situation?

We invite Chinese Studies scholars as leading experts on China (in the widest sense) to answer one or more of these questions—or indeed any other—from the perspective of your specific research expertise in no more than 1000-1500 words. This can be submitted either as article or as audio recording (mp3).

This collection of position papers will be published in the next issue of the British Journal of Chinese Studies (July 2020). Submissions should be made via the journal’s online system and should follow the style guide. https://bjocs.site/index.php/bjocs/about/submissions

Audio recordings should be scripted and clear, at a reasonable speed, following the same word limit.

While these short contributions will not go through peer review, we will nonetheless apply editorial oversight to ensure balanced contributions from as many different perspectives as possible.

Please submit your contribution by 31 May 2020 and contact Gerda Wielander on G.Wielander@westminster.ac.uk with any questions you may have.

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