CfP - ast Asian Imperialisms and Narrative Media in the Long 20th Century

deadline for submissions: 
January 25, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Nazry Bahrawi / Singapore University of Technology and Design

Joint East Asian Studies Conference 2019

Call for Papers:

Panel on “East Asian Imperialisms and Narrative Media

in the Long 20th Century”

(University of Edinburgh, 4 – 6 September 2019)


Panel Organisers:

Nazry Bahrawi, Senior Lecturer, Singapore University of Technology and Design

Waiyee Loh, Postdoctoral Associate, University of Warwick

Michael Tsang, Leverhulme Postdoctoral Fellow, Newcastle University


In 2017, the mainland Chinese film industry scored a box-office smash hit with its summer blockbuster movie Wolf Warrior II (Zhan Lang II), starring Wu Jing as a former special forces soldier who rescues Chinese nationals and their African employees caught in the midst of a civil war in an unnamed African country. While the film provides a Chinese slant to Hollywood’s “white saviour” complex – as Kevin Fan Hsu puts it in his review for Foreign Policy – its ultra-nationalist portrayal of Chinese state power and involvement in Africa owes as much to the history of Japanese imperialism as it does to its Western precursors. The hero’s triumph over the Western mercenaries who fuel the civil war is a familiar trope from Japanese colonial discourse in the early to mid-20th century, which claimed that the Japanese Empire would liberate its Asian neighbours from the yoke of Western imperialism.

Taking Wolf Warrior as a starting point, this panel aims to examine fictional narratives that engage with the history, legacies, and reincarnations of East Asian imperialisms (predominantly but not limited to that emanating from Japan and China) in the long 20th century – from the latter half of the 19th century with the decay of the Manchu Empire and the emergence of Japanese expansionism, to the current rise of China as a global power in the 21st century.

We are open to a wide variety of fictional forms, ranging from novels, poetry and drama, to films, television series, advertising, and digital media. We seek proposals from scholars working on East Asia and its imperial networks in the fields of Literature, Film and TV, Cultural and Media Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and World Literature. Postcolonial Studies has in recent years paid increasing attention to forms of imperialism originating from East Asian countries, which often complicate the conventional binaries of coloniser/colonised and domination/resistance. We seek to build on this momentum to strike a stronger dialogue between East Asian Studies and Postcolonial Studies.

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

-       Japanese wartime propaganda films

-       Historical and contemporary narratives that engage with the Japanese occupation of Taiwan and Korea

-       Historical and contemporary narratives that engage with the Asia-Pacific War and Japanese imperialism in Manchuria, China, and Southeast Asia (1932–1945)

-       Contemporary fictional re-imaginings of the decline of the Manchu Empire and/or the Empress Dowager Cixi

-       Contemporary fiction and media texts that engage with Sino-African and Sino-Arabic relations

-       Contemporary fiction and media texts that engage with recent popular rights movements (e.g. Hong Kong’s Umbrella movement; Taiwan’s Sunflower movement)


Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be emailed to by Friday 25 January 2019. Please include your name, institutional affiliation, and email address.