Call for Papers: « Precarious Peripheries: Gender from the Margins of China »

Special issue of Sextant, with the China Academic Network on Gender

Deadline for Abstracts (500 words) – 01 November 2019
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The construction and imagination of China’s margins (ethnic, political, socio-cultural, geographical, religious) has long engrossed China scholars – from anthropological works such as William Skinner’s classic study of historical geography and the macro region model, to travel writers from Marco Polo to San Mao, to ethnographies of Chinese minorities and new Qing histories. In recent years, academic attention has widened its scope to new margins including environmental histories of China’s politically contested borders, and the projection of China’s soft power in contemporary science fiction that claims space as the newest frontier of the Sinosphere.

However, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of gender in imagining and creating China’s shifting centers and peripheries. What and where are these margins and what role does gender play in their construction and imagination? Who are the inhabitants of the margins: minorities, women, religious groups, itinerants, disabled people and the poor? In what ways does gender condition their experience of the peripheral spaces in which they operate. What are the social and gendered implications of traversing these boundaries ⁠— personal, political or physical? How do marginal actors negotiate their place at the borders and what is the impact of their positioning and perspectives on the very conception of Chineseness? A gendered perspective can better help scholars to transverse and dissect the borders of China, historically, socially, politically and geographically, and throw new light onto their fluid and permeable construction across time and space.

This special issue aims to ignite conversations that interrogate the notion of margins from contemporary and historical perspectives. We welcome contributions from any discipline with a research focus on gender and China, including but not limited to: gender studies, media studies, cultural studies, film studies, religious studies, literature, history, sociology, anthropology, and queer studies. We welcome especially analyses bearing on ethnicity and engaging with intersectional analysis — a framework first articulated in the pathbreaking works of Kimberlé Crenshaw to articulate how “race and gender intersect in shaping structural, political, and representational aspects of violence against women of color” (Kimberlé Crenshaw 1994).

Contributions could explore the following axes:

  • Conceptualisations of intersectionality in China, and tentatives for cross-cultural feminist solidarities
  • Spaces of tension between gender as a social construct and linguistic gender, comparisons of gender-inclusive language in official and marginalized topolects and linguistic practices, music, film and literature
  • Problematizations and historicizations of gender in the geographical margins of what is today China, real or imagined — including but not limited to: central China, rural North China, tier 3 cities, Hong Kong and Macau, autonomous regions (Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Tibet,…), online spaces, and the diasporas
  • Views from the LGBTQ+ and other historically marginalized communities. For instance, intersections between gendered identities and religious or disabled identities, and awareness-raising practices


Please send a 500 word abstract to:, including your full name, institutional affiliation, email address and a short bio before 1 November 2019. Applicants will be notified of the outcome in December 2019, and successful applicants will need to submit full papers by 1 March 2020. All submissions will then be submitted to a double-blind peer review process, based on which contributions to be published in the January 2021 issue of Sextant will be selected. For further information, please contact the guest editors at the above email address.

Research articles can be submitted in English or in French. They should be no longer than 8,000 words and follow the format of articles guidelines available here. Further precisions on formatting will be sent to applicants preselected at the abstract review stage.


Muriel Andrin (Université libre de Bruxelles), Jean-Didier Bergilez (Université libre de Bruxelles), Mylène Botbol-Baum (Université catholique de Louvain), Annalisa Casini (Université catholique de Louvain), Natacha Chetcuti-Osorovitz (Université libre de Bruxelles), Nicole Gallus (Université libre de Bruxelles), Claire Gavray (Université de Liège), Nathalie Grandjean (Université de Namur), Stéphanie Loriaux (Université libre de Bruxelles), Danièle Meulders (Université libre de Bruxelles), Nouria Ouali (Université libre de Bruxelles), Bérengère Marques-Pereira (Université libre de Bruxelles), Charlotte Pezeril (Université Saint-Louis), Cécile Vanderpelen (Université libre de Bruxelles)


Christine Bard (Université d’Angers), Eric Fassin (Université Paris VIII), David Halperin (University of Michigan), Hilde Heinen (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven), Jane Jenson (Université de Montréal), Peter Jackson (Australian National University), Patricia Roux (Université de Lausanne), Joan Scott (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)


Christophe Adam (Université libre de Bruxelles/Université catholique de Louvain), Valérie André (Fonds de la recherche scientifique/Université libre de Bruxelles), David Berliner (Université libre de Bruxelles), Laura Calabrese (Université libre de Bruxelles), Amandine Lauro (Fonds de la recherche scientifique/Université libre de Bruxelles), Maïté Maskens (Université libre de Bruxelles), Anne Morelli (Université libre de Bruxelles), Sile O’Dorchai (Université libre de Bruxelles), Marie-Geneviève Pinsart (Université libre de Bruxelles), Isabelle Rorive (Université libre de Bruxelles), Laurence Rosier (Université libre de Bruxelles), Barbara Truffin (Université libre de Bruxelles)


Jennifer Bond (University College Dublin), Coraline Jortay (Université libre de Bruxelles) and Chang Liu (CUHK Shenzhen)


Created in partnership between the Université libre de Bruxelles, School of Oriental and African Studies, and King’s College London, the China Academic Network on Gender (CHANGE) brings together postgraduate students and early career researchers from the humanities and social sciences who are dedicated to researching gender issues in China. Our transnational network provides a specialized platform, built for and by members to facilitate networking and communication. The forum will be used to organize biennial themed conferences at partner universities. It aims to publicize members research papers, create synergies for sharing sources, best practices and building an international community to facilitate scholarly exchange and research on gender and China. In particular, our network aims to provide a platform for younger scholars to share ideas and resources. It is designed to provide them with an online forum and community, which is built and driven by its members, enabling postgraduate students and early career researchers to connect to other scholars working in their field.

CHANGE 是一个专注于中国性别研究的网站,其主要设想用户为人文社科领域的博士生及青年学者。网站目前由布鲁塞尔自由大学(ULB)、伦敦大学亚非学院(SOAS)及伦敦大学国王学院(KCL)共同承办。它将提供一个特殊的平台,使其会员享有并参与打造更好的学术关系网。同时,每隔两年,我们会在参与网站建设的学校举办一次国际会议。CHANGE将致力于让更多人看到其会员的研究文章,创造协同共享资源及实践的机会,构建更具国际性的学术研究群体,从而推动有关中国及性别研究的学术交流。尤需强调的是,我们希望为青年学者提供一个分享想法和资源的平台,而这一平台上的具体论坛将由网站会员自己建设和推动,从而使研究生及青年学者能够与其领域里的更多学者进行交流合作。


Established at the initiative of Eliane Gubin in 1993, Sextant is an open-access double-blind peer-reviewed academic journal established with the University Presses of the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) since 2008. Interdisciplinary at core, Sextant is the main journal specialized in women and gender studies in francophone Belgium. Dedicated to making original research accessible to all, the journal is moving to the online platform Open Editions by 2020. Meanwhile, back issues are available freely on the website of the University Press.