IACSS Main Conference 2021

28-30 July 2021 (Wednesday to Friday)

Confirmed Keynotes and Invited Speakers:

  • Prof. Kishore Mahbubani (National University of Singapore)
  • Prof. Jomo Kwame Sundaram (Khazanah Research Institute, Columbia University and International Islamic University Malaysia)
  • Prof. Sarah Pink (Monash University)
  • Prof. Pun Ngai (Lingnan University)
  • Prof. Lim Sun Sun (Singapore University of Technology and Design)
  • Assoc. Prof. Aswin Punathambekar (University of Virginia) 
  • Prof. Chang Kyung-Sup (Seoul National University)
  • Prof. Huang, Tsung-Yi Michelle (National Taiwan University)
  • Dr. Benjamin Hegarty (The University of Melbourne)
  • Dr. Vaibhav Saria (Simon Fraser University)
  • Assoc. Prof. Satoko Itani (Kansai University)
  • Assoc. Prof. Crystal Abidin (Curtin University)
  • Assoc. Prof. Merlyna Lim (Carleton University)
  • Dr. Sonia Lam-Knott (University of Oxford)
  • June Chua (The T Project)
  • Prof. Yoshimi Shunya (The University of Tokyo)
  • Assoc. Prof. Luo Xiaoming (Shanghai University)
  • Dr. Yatun Sastramidjaja (University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr Andy Wang (Academia Sinica)
  • Professor Meaghan Morris (University of Sydney)
  • Prof. Madhuja Mukherjee (Jadavpur University)
  • Prof John N. Erni (Hong Kong Baptist University)
  • Prof. Yoshitaka Mōri (Tokyo University of Art)
  • Prof. Mary E. John (Centre for Women’s Development Studies)
  • Prof. Lily Kong (Singapore Management University)
  • Dr. Jae Park (Education University of Hong Kong)
  • Dr. Xu Liang (Peking University)
  • Prof. Shin Hyunjoon (Sungkonghoe University)
  • Prof. Melani Budianta (Universitas Indonesia)
  • Prof. Sharmani Patricia Gabriel (Universiti Malaya)
  • Ashish Rajadhyaksha (Independent Scholar)
  • Assoc. Prof Seuty Sabur (BRAC University)

Call for Papers

The C-19 pandemic has upended all aspects of everyday work, life and play. From emergency lockdowns that required everyone to shelter at home to the gradual lifting of restrictions where working from home and remote learning continue to remain the norm, no one and no mode of human interaction have been left untouched by the virus. It is a cascading disaster involving health, economic and social challenges. Its measures designed to mitigate the virus have changed patterns of consumption and production. Its viral war metaphors have unleashed hostility between people, groups and nation-states. As a catastrophic event, it has precipitated ecological changes to unsettle and defamiliarize our traditional sensemaking of the world. While exacerbating structural inequalities and racial injustices, it has also reminded us there are things we should value, such as care and community. In such times of crisis, we ask: what are the new conditions and conjunctions of culture (cf. Hall, Grossberg)? What are the alternative strategies to think and act critically in ways that do not merely reproduce conventional and confrontational modes of resistance—how can we negotiate the pandemic and its contradictions so we are not just passive conduits of the virus? How can we refuse to be its vector of transmission (cf. Hage)? With the theme of “Culture in the Pandemic Age,” this Conference calls for critical investigation of the various responses to the C-19 with a focus on the specificities of local cultural contexts and practices. We welcome all submissions relating to Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, especially those from the following sub-themes:

  • Genealogies, Theories and Practices: pandemic, crisis, contagion, borders and border closures, transmissions and virality, lockdowns and reshoring, etc.;
  • Art, Culture & Work: pandemic activism and social movements; heritage, memory and learning histories; creative work as essential and non-essential; working from home—spatial adaptations and design, etc.;
  • Digital Technologies and Screens: digital learning and e-pedagogies; new screen ontologies and fatigue, etc.;
  • Media & Environment: public health and smart city technologies; infodemics and misinformation; social media, platform societies and infrastructures, etc.;
  • Sustainability & Adaptability: anthropocene and climate change; disaster, racial and surveillance capitalisms; social distancing, urban structure, community and density; conditioning the new normal; catastrophe, emergency and resilience, etc.;
  • People, Space & Embodiments: pandemic (im)mobilities; labour and migration; precarity, mutual assistance, solidarity and care; prejudice and xenophobia; rural-urban reaction to the pandemic; masking, contact tracing, hand sanitising, etc.;
  • Governance & Politics: democracy and biopolitics; surveillance and securitization; inter-Asia relations, etc.;
  • New Cold-War, New Territories & Futurism: political economy and industrialization in pandemic; Asia futurism; territoriality and the politics of distance, etc. 

Confirmed Plenary Sessions:

  • De-globalization
  • China in Transition
  • Digital Cultures/Futures
  • Trans Lives in the Pandemic Age
  • Youth Movements in Asia under Crises
  • Inter-Asia Cultural Studies in the Future Tense
  • Global Rankings and the Culture of Knowledge Production

Format: Hybrid (Virtual/Singapore) – Zoom, in-person, pre-recorded presentations. Delegates are invited to present virtually. The keynotes will be live-streamed and where possible, live in Singapore. Socially distanced and hybrid plenary presentations will take place at National University of Singapore.

Submission Format: pre-constituted panels,individual papers, roundtables.

Abstract Submission Deadline: 05 March 2021 (extended)

Announcement of Accepted Panels, Papers, and Roundtables: 26 March 2021

For submission of your abstracts, please fill up the form here.

Abstract Proposal Guidelines

NOTE: Only paper abstracts will be considered.

Pre-constituted panels

  • We welcome panel proposals of 3-4 papers based on the general theme and other important topics in inter-Asia cultural studies today.
  • The maximum number of words for a panel abstract is 400 words. No exceptions are possible. The abstract has to be included in the proposal form and cannot be sent separately.
  • The maximum number of words for each paper abstract is 250 words. No exceptions are possible. The abstract has to be included in the proposal form and cannot be sent separately.
  • We encourage panels with participants from different organizations, institutions and countries.

 Individual Papers

  • While we prefer panel proposals, we will be accepting individual paper proposals. An individual paper presentation, if accepted, will be grouped into a panel with other individual papers by the IACSS 2021 Academic Selection Committee.
  • The maximum number of words for a paper abstract is 250 words. No exceptions are possible. The abstract has to be included in the proposal form and cannot be sent separately.


  • Roundtables allow a group of participants to convene with the goal of generating discussion around a shared concern. Roundtables are limited to no more than five participants, including the organizer.
  • Proposals for roundtables must include: roundtable title; speakers and institutional affiliation; a description of the position statements, questions, or debates that will be under discussion (no more than 250 words)
  • We encourage roundtables involving participants from different institutions, organizations, and countries.

 Book Launch Proposals

  • We will be keeping a session slot reserved for book launches. Please email iacs2021singapore@gmail.com to propose book launch sessions.


Conference Convenor: Prof Audrey Yue (National University of Singapore)

Conference Advisory Committee:

  • Prof Chua Beng-Huat (National University of Singapore)
  • Associate Professor Daniel Goh (National University of Singapore)
  • Visiting Professor Chen Kuan-Hsing (National University of Singapore)

Conference Manager: Dr Wang Jiabao (National University of Singapore)

Conference Contact Email: iacs2021singapore@gmail.com