April 22-24, 2021 | Hosted Online via Zoom


Please see the Society of Sinophone Studies program website for more information.

Multisensory Dissent and Alliance Building is the inaugural conference of the Society of Sinophone Studies (3S). The concept for the conference was motivated by increasing authoritarian and ethnic/race-based repression in key Sinophone sites around the world: the holding of democratic elections in Taiwan ROC in the face of PRC social media interference and disinformation campaigns; anti-extradition bill protests in Hong Kong SAR that were met with increasingly hostile state violence; the PRC’s intensified regime of surveillance and internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang while enacting a new National Security Law for Hong Kong; and the flaring anti-Asian racism, rhetoric, and violence in the United States (under an administration perpetuating anti-immigrant policies and emboldening white supremacy) and the West, as well as anti-African actions taken in Guangzhou, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.  Responding to these challenges, popular demonstrations against systemic racism and against authoritarianism grew stronger worldwide as they adapted to the “new normal” of engaging a “socially distanced” civil sphere. Recognizing that this rapidly changing reality cannot but influence our academic culture, this conference takes seriously the need to analyze, historicize, and theorize interconnected and creatively adaptive Sinophone expressions of dissent and alliance building across geopolitical boundaries. By mobilizing interarea, interdisciplinary, and cross-methodological perspectives on multisensory modes of expressing dissent and ally-ship across the Sinophone world (including Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Southeast Asia, North America, Africa, and Europe), our interdisciplinary conference seeks to generate new cross-disciplinary frameworks for understanding, interpreting, and amplifying the broader theoretical, methodological, and relational salience of such multisensory expressions.

The conference highlights perspectives that exceed or depart from the reductive discursive frameworks of liberal humanism vs. nationalist/racialist difference (i.e. pan-Chinese or East Asian exceptionalisms) that often dominate the lens through which Sinophone conditions are viewed.  It also foregrounds research that includes but also goes beyond audiovisual sensoria to consider haptic, tactile, or kinetic perception (touch, taste, smell, etc.) or different (meta)physical states and activities (pain, disability, hallucination, exercise, dreaming, etc.). Key questions include: How might multisensory approaches to Sinophone conditions evoke novel or unintuitive intimacies or relations that bring other actors/agents into play, such as the transpacific, “other” Asias, the indigenous or minoritarian, or the non-Sinophone?  How might a multisensory approach to Sinophone dissent and ally-ship transform Sinophone studies or other disciplinary conventions?

The conference features one keynote speech and six panels spread across three days.


This conference is sponsored by:
Society of Sinophone Studies, USC Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, USC East Asian Studies Center, and USC Center for Transpacific Studies.

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  • Calvin Cheng

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