Call for Papers: Graduate Conference: “On Belonging: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Japan”

call for papers [150-2]CALL FOR PAPERS
On Belonging: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Japan
University of California, Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies

Conference Dates: April 7 – 8, 2017
Submissions Due: January 15, 2017
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The UC Berkeley Center for Japanese Studies presents its fourth annual graduate student conference: On Belonging: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Japan. We invite proposals for papers that focus on past and present inquiries into and expressions of identity and community formation vis-à-vis gender and sexuality in Japan. Current graduate students and recent graduates in any discipline are invited to apply. In particular we welcome abstracts that explore the role of identity (including gendered, sexual, social, and ethnic) in relation to Japanese Buddhist institutions, texts, and community practices.

This conference will also explore representations of and critical engagements with notions of gender, sexuality, and identity that illuminate where and how interpretations of such notions have manifested barriers to belonging in the forms of discrimination and marginalization. Within this arena individual papers might focus on the expression of private, personal experience as well as the mounting of public demonstrations as critiques of normativity or state practice. Papers might also consider how members of academia deploy theories of gender, sexuality, and queerness to critically analyze the effects normativity and institutional power or to encourage the re-reading of historical objects and events.

Categories of exploration might include but are not limited to:

  • Intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, and/or other categories of group identity and individual lived experience
  • Questions of normativity/non-normativity, the consideration of how boundaries to belonging are constructed or questioned, and the “queering” of cultural narratives and perspectives
  • Engagements with practices of “close” or “paranoid” readings versus “surface” readings, and how theory can be efficacious to “recovery” of narratives and/or risk obfuscation of historical particulars
  • Whether state and religious institutions enact normativity, whether there can be a “queering” of institutions, or whether institutions can intervene in social constructs of normativity
  • The framing and understanding of gender and sexuality in Japanese Buddhism and other institutions of cultural practice and belief, and how cultural and spiritual practices shape ideas of the normative and non-normative

Requirements for Submission

Proposed papers should present original, critical research that substantially engages with the conference theme in relation to Japan Studies writ large. Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with your name, institutional affiliation/program, presentation title, and short biography (100 words) by January 15, 2017.


Limited funding is available for participants. Please apply early and indicate your need for funding, including from where you will be travelling and whether you will require lodging. International scholars are encouraged to apply.

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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