The Digital Humanities: Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Special Issue

deadline for submissions: 
November 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Panpan Yang, SOAS University of London

Call for Papers: The Digital Humanities
Journal of Chinese Cinemas, Special Issue

This special issue seeks innovative research that explores the intersections between digital humanities and the studies of Chinese media cultures. While access to a large corpus of print materials related to Chinese cinemas before 1949—whether existing or lost—has been greatly facilitated by using digital databases, such as the Chinese Periodical Full-Text Database (1911–1949), Shenbao Digital Archive, Hong Kong Baptist University Chinese Newspapers Database, Hong Kong Old Newspapers Database, and A History of Film Exhibition and Reception in Colonial Hong Kong (1897–1925) Database, to name a few, these digital databases also avail themselves of sites for critical awareness about our mediated past. From the Semantic Annotation Tool to, new tools, skills, competencies, and formats of publication have gradually transformed the field of Chinese cinemas and media studies by allowing multimodal scholars to ask new research questions, introduce new disciplinary paradigms, incubate new collaborative possibilities, and present their discoveries in new ways.

The editor of this special issue welcomes contributions that consider what digital humanities may bring to Chinese cinemas and media studies, and vice versa. Research papers that define digital archives, databases, and tools as objects of scholarly inquiries are also welcome. The questions to be explored may include but are not limited to the following:

  • In what ways are data visualization, text mining, video annotation, and the other forms of computer-aided research methods useful for studying historical and contemporary Chinese cinemas and media cultures? What are the limitations of such approaches?
  • Do traditional and simplified Chinese characters pose unique challenges for searching key words in digital databases? Does searching English key words in Chinese-language databases bring to us surprising results?
  • How do the widely used Lantern searches, along with Arclight, enable Chinese cinemas and media scholars to discover trends in cross-cultural distribution, exhibition and reception of films and stars?
  • How do we combine seemingly conventional, yet effective research methods in the field of Chinese cinemas and media cultures—particularly, close film analysis and archival research—with the computational methods?
  • How do commercial, political, and ideological factors come into play when selecting what should be digitalized and deciding what can or cannot enter a given database?
  • What is the dark side of digital humanities, especially in the Chinese context?
  • How are Chinese film pedagogical practices in and outside China transformed by the availability of online resources?
  • Was there a time when Chinese cinemas and media scholars conducted what may be called digital humanities research before the term “digital humanities” (shuzi renwen) appeared in the Sinophone world in 2009?
  • How do digital humanities practices propel us to rethink notions of history, cinematic time, and the archive?

Abstracts of 250–300 words, along with brief biographical notes, are due on November 30, 2022. Authors of selected abstracts will be invited to submit full manuscripts of 6,000–8,000 words by May 31, 2023, for consideration to be included in a Journal of Chinese Cinemas special issue, whose anticipated publication date will be late 2023 or early 2024.

Please send abstracts and/or inquiries to guest editor Panpan Yang at SOAS University of London (email: