CFP - Encountering Urban Diversity in Asia: Class and Other Intersections

In this workshop, we bring into productive conversation how people live with diversity and the myriad ways in which this transform, constitute and spatialise class in Asia’s dynamic and rapidly changing cities.



Paper proposals should include a title, an abstract of 350 words maximum and a brief personal biography of 150 words for submission by 30 December 2013. Please send all proposals to both Dr Maureen Hickey at [email protected] and Dr Ye Junjia at [email protected]

For a copy of the submission form, please visit the website.

Successful applicants will be notified by 15 January 2014 and are required to send in a completed draft paper (5000 - 8000 words) by 15 April 2014. Based on the quality of proposals and availability of funds, partial or full funding will be granted to successful applicants. Participants are therefore encouraged to seek fund for travel from their home institutions. Full funding cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means, plus board and lodging for the duration of the workshop.

This workshop is organised by the Migration Clusters of Asia Research Institute, & Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore. It also has support from Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Germany, & International Geographical Union Commission on Population Geography.

The unprecedented pace and scale of economic, political, social and demographic change in Asia in recent decades has brought about an increase in levels of population mobility, the complexity of their spatial patterning, and the diversity of the groups involved. While the primary source of newcomers into cities are low and high end labour migrants, other newcomers, such as marriage and student migrants, together with emerging subcultures and complex socio-economic shifts within already established ethnic and religious communities, are also contributing to growing social diversity. Within this context, spaces such as schools, workplaces, transit places, community events and food centers become sites where people of different backgrounds and distinct identities based on social differentiation must co-exist and interact with others.

In recent years a growing body of literature has sought to document and analyse these emerging constellations of difference and encounter in the everyday spaces and places of global cities. Much of this work has focused on the implications on growing cultural diversity and interactive, prosaic negotiations that have resulted from increased migration flows. Yet the ways in which these flows are producing new forms of intersecting social and economic class relations across city, national and transnational scales has, up to this point, received less attention. As feminist scholars have illustrated, class, in conjunction with gender, nationality, sexuality, race and ethnicity, are also crucial ways through which people experience social life, which is always embedded within material conditions and power. We explore and question the possibilities of changing social relations within these configurations of diversity by taking into account the structural factors and material constraints which shape and could potentially be shaped by these forms of co-existence. One purpose of this conference is to bring together scholars interested in rethinking and retheorising the production and performance of class relations in an era of growing transnational mobility and urban diversity in non-Western contexts. With an eye towards further unsettling understandings of economic class categories and relations), the organizers are particularly interested in fostering an expanded conversation on the ways in which economic and social categories of class produce, inform, complement and contradict one another within the urban contact zones of the region.

In this workshop, we bring into productive conversation how people live with diversity and the myriad ways in which this transform, constitute and spatialise class in Asia’s dynamic and rapidly changing cities. Aside from paper submissions, we also welcome presentations of photography, documentary films (20 minutes or less) and interactive online and other multi-media projects.

Participants are encouraged to consider one or more of the following questions in their paper presentations:

1. How do contemporary urban spaces and class relations co-constitute the one aother?
2. How do shifting constellations of diversity intersect with class relations in Asian cities, and what are the implications for everyday social encounters?
3. To what extent can informal, fleeting socialities be socially and culturally transformative of inter-group relations? How does an analysis of class enable us to think critically about notions of conviviality and co-existence?
4. What are the methodological implications for the analyses of these expanded, increasingly complex forms of class and diversity?

In addition, participants should include the following in their abstract:
- a note outlining the methodological underpinnings of the work outlined in the abstract.
- a brief outline of the findings.

From 15 May 2014
Until 16 May 2014
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