Perceptions of the Asian Family in Literature, Film, and Media

deadline for submissions: 
March 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Bernard Wilson / Gakushuin University Sharifah Aishah Osman / Universiti Malaya
contact email: 


Working Title for Proposed Volume:  The Asian Family in Literature and Film: Traditions, Traversals, and Trajectories



Dr. Bernard Wilson

Department of English Language and Culture,

Department of International Social Sciences,

Gakushuin University, Tokyo, Japan


Dr. Sharifah Aishah Osman

Department of English

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Universiti Malaya

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia




Statement of Aims

What are the ways in which the family unit is now perceived in Asia and what changes has it undergone over the last century? The broad spectrum of what constitutes family and its representations in literature, film, and other forms of visual media, ensures that the term is not easily defined, representing as it does a range of philosophical and conceptual interpretations, contestations and frameworks - just as the definition of Asia in itself is also tenuous and contested. Amid these broad referential points, though, connections may be made. The prevailing threads that run through many children’s and young adult texts emerging from the contemporary societies of the Asian region are the changing issues that confront parents, children, and other forms of family. These express themselves historically, politically, and socio-culturally, and often in relation to gender, ethnic, or economic imbalances, yet their clearest unifying thread is the underlying belief in such texts for the need for human relationships and guidance. As such, though the issues represented in texts emerging from Asia may be regional and localised they are also, in many ways, very much universal in the questions they ask, the lessons they teach, and the connections they make.

In a previous collection of essays co-edited with Professor Sharmani Patricia Gabriel and entitled Asian Children's Literature and Film in a Global Age: Local, National and Transnational Trajectories (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), the representation of the Asian child on screen and on the written page was the central focus. This new collection of essays will further draw on that broad area of scholarship and will consider the Asian family in its numerous conceptions and conditions. It will most particularly focus on analyses of the Asian family as it is represented in literature, film and other visual media in an Asian context and emerging from Asian regions, but will also assess Western influences on the Asian family and, conversely Asian influence on Western concepts of family, and the contestations of power dynamics and moral codes that underpin such cross-cultural representations. It will seek to look at traditions and transformations in the evolving structure and perception of family itself and will provide a forum through which a range of scholars – both from within and beyond Asia – can bring greater attention to representations of Asian families in written and visual texts. It hopes to reflect upon the social and cultural mores represented in those texts, and discuss the issues that concern the structures of Asian families both in the past and present, their continued transitions and projections for the future, and their spatial position in broader communities. 

Of particular interest are the following interrelated questions and areas of investigation: 

  1. Through the written text and the lens of the camera, what directions has the understanding of family in an Asian context taken in the 21st century? How have the multiple platforms of media represented, encouraged, or resisted transitions during this time?

  2. Amidst broader and mutating referential frameworks and cross-cultural influences, is the traditional concept of the “nuclear family” still relevant in the 21st century?

  3. How have religious and philosophical influences - Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam,  Hinduism, and Christianity, to name but a few - shaped the understanding of family in Asian contexts?

  4. How have more fluid concepts of gender in the late 20th and early 21st century affected the understanding of family in Asia? What does a gendered reading bring to modern debates surrounding family?

  5. The traditional concept of family has often been represented and enforced from a conservative/heteronormative perspective. What possibilities and reinterpretations does a queered reading or representation of family bring to the debate?

  6. To what extent are notions of family, community, society and nation - or combinations thereof -  represented as interchangeable concepts in Asian societies?

  7. What have changes to the patriarchy - and resistance to those changes - meant for the structure and perception of Asian families and the conditions in which they now exist? How has feminism played a role in the shaping of families in Asia into the 21st century?

  8. What do colonial/postcolonial readings or analyses of family in the Asian context bring to the debate?

  9. How has increasing ethnic diversity in Asian societies and in Asian families changed the understanding of family and family values?

  10. How have globalisation and consumerism affected or undercut traditional concepts of family in Asia?

  11. How is family represented in texts as a metaphor for national ideologies and movements in Asia?

Theoretically, and contextually, this collection of essays will offer a wide scope, providing incentive for representation and analysis from scholars across the globe and across disciplines. The editors are most specifically interested in the articulation of the cultural representation of family in Asian society(ies) in literature and film, but also in the related historical, sociological and anthropological perspectives - among others - to which such representations may be linked. 


Submissions Timeline and Contact Information


  • We will be approaching a leading academic publisher with this collection. 
  • All papers should be submitted in English.
  • Please send abstracts of 200-300 words and an 80-100 word bio to or by 31 March 2023.
  • Accepted contributors will need to submit their chapter drafts to the editor by 31 August 2023.
  • Please contact the editors at either of the following email addresses if you have any questions: or