State of Hong Kong Studies—A Workshop

Call for Papers

9–11 June 2023
The University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Workshop format: hybrid

Deadline for abstracts: 15 November 2022

Dr. Leo K. Shin | Dr. Helena Wu

In a more ideal world, perhaps, there need not be a field of “Hong Kong studies.” That world may still have problems aplenty, but the “proper” scale for humanistic or social scientific inquiries would be hemispheric, global, or even planetary. But we do not live even remotely close to that world, and the injustices we need to wrestle with are certainly not limited to those that could be easily placed under the category of North-South divide, disinformation, or human-induced climate change. So we do have good reasons to go back to the basics and to try to understand from the ground up where we have come from and where we might be heading.

So, yes, this is a slightly long-winded way of making the case that it remains important and useful that we take as our unit of analysis a geographic-cum-cultural space—not as an isolated, self-evident object of study but as a phenomenon to be made sense of both on its own terms and in broader translocal, transnational, as well as global contexts. To do so is to take seriously the diversity of human experiences and to deepen our understanding of the transformations as well as connectedness of the modern world.

It is the premise of the organizers of this workshop that this is the right time (there is never a perfect time, of course) to take stock of the state of the field of “Hong Kong studies” and to stimulate further research. Our goal is to produce an edited volume that will serve as an essential reference for both specialists and non-specialists alike. The chapters we envision will be empirical in their substance and will each provide an overview of the state of a particular subfield (or sub-subfield) in Hong Kong studies. We look forward to contributions from both emerging and established scholars, and we welcome approaches and methodologies from a wide range of disciplines.

While the organizers are open to all worthy topics, we are particularly looking forward to contributions that would form part of one or more of the following clusters:

A. Shifting Paradigms

The papers in this cluster are expected to examine some of the key paradigmatic shifts in academic and/or public discourses concerning Hong Kong. They will, individually and collectively, survey the changes in value, technology, ideology, political structure, and/or institutional order that have shaped our approaches to the study of Hong Kong, and they will interrogate existing paradigms of disciplinary framing and knowledge. The goal here is to encourage critical reflections on the development of Hong Kong studies as a site of knowledge production and subject (trans)formation.

Potential topics for the individual papers for this cluster:

  • coloniality/postcoloniality
  • human/non-human
  • materialism/postmaterialism
  • politics of representation (e.g., “East-meets-West”, subject/object)
  • public/private
  • status quo/change
  • truth/post-truth
  • visuality/(dis-)appearance

B. Variegated Praxes

The papers in this cluster are expected to showcase the diversity of methodologies associated with Hong Kong studies. It is of course impossible to include all possible topics, so we will prioritize contributions that would provide an overview of a particular methodological domain and would, at the same time, engage broader discussions concerning research methods, materials, ethics, etc.

Potential topics for the individual papers for this cluster:

  • archives/corpora
  • big data/digital humanities
  • comparative studies
  • discourse/textual analysis
  • ethnography
  • policy research
  • quantitative/qualitative analysis
  • visual analysis

C. Manifold Constituents

The papers in this cluster are expected to demonstrate how various (marginalized) constituents have been approached in the context of Hong Kong studies. The goals here are to cast light on the diversity within Hong Kong society as well as on how the case of Hong Kong could contribute to broader conversations about the formation, transformation, and negotiation of identities, among other topics.

Potential topics for the individual papers for this cluster:

  • class
  • ethnicity/ethnic minorities
  • foreign workers/immigrants
  • indigeneity
  • gender
  • LGBTQ+ communities
  • subculture
  • youth

D. Variable Scales

The papers in this cluster are expected to highlight the diverse approaches to Hong Kong studies from the perspective of “scales.” Here, “scales” should be understood broadly to include those concerning geography, space, time, relations, mobility, etc. We will prioritize contributions that would at once offer an overview of a particular domain of Hong Kong studies and engage broader discussions about scales and parameters.

Potential topics for the individual papers for this cluster:

  • anthropocene/environment
  • bodies/embodiments
  • communities/networks
  • Hong Kong studies and other academic fields/disciplines
  • immigration/migration
  • local/regional/global connections
  • state-society relationship/nationalism
  • translocality/transnationalism

Interested participants of the “State of Hong Kong Studies” workshop are invited to submit an abstract (~350 words), five keywords, and a one-paragraph biographical sketch (to be combined in 1 PDF file named in the format: “[family name]-[given name]-workshop-abstract”) to by 15 November 2022. Please use “State of Hong Kong Studies: Abstract” for the subject line in your email, and be sure to indicate in your abstract the cluster(s) (you may choose more than one) under which you would like your paper to be considered. Please note that we particularly appreciate contributions that would explicitly address the state of a particular subfield (understood broadly) in Hong Kong studies. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 December 2022, and full papers (~8,000 words, excluding notes and bibliography) are expected by 15 May 2023.

It is our expectation that the workshop will adopt a hybrid format. For participants who wish to join us in person, we will provide most of the meals and as much on-campus housing as budget allows.

For further information, please contact the workshop organizers at

This workshop is hosted by the UBC Hong Kong Studies Initiative with the generous support of the Watt Family-Hong Kong Studies Initiative Fund.