CfP: Chinese Objects and Their Lives, Paris

CALL FOR PAPERS – French Association for Chinese Studies 法國漢學協會 (AFEC)

“Chinese objects and their lives”

International workshop

Organizer: French Association of Chinese Studies 法國漢學協會 (AFEC)
Date: June 15, 2018
Venue: Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales – Inalco, Paris
Deadline for submission proposal: February 23rd, 2018

The French Association for Chinese studies 法國漢學協會 (AFEC) organises every second year an international workshop.

To know more about the association, please visit:

Over the last twenty years, material culture studies have occupied a growing place in the social sciences. These studies are founded on the idea that objects—natural, technical or artistic—can be considered documents for the writing of history, or even as actors in the social sphere, where they are capable of conditioning or transforming human behaviour. Therefore, special attention has been given to the social, economic and material conditions of their production and diffusion, their history and uses, and more broadly to their “biographies” or “social lives” in order to account for their ability to take on different roles in different periods. The relationships that people build with objects that surround them, are created by them, or used and exchanged by them, have been an integral part of the issues confronting historians studying material culture since, at least, the 1960s.

How does this growing interest in objects and material culture reveal itself in Chinese studies? Choosing from different disciplines and different periods, this AFEC workshop aims to examine how to approach objects in the humanities and social sciences—from everyday objects to natural objects, consumer goods, technical or scientific instruments, objects of study or devotion, or ritual objects and works of art. By bringing together specialists from different fields (history, art history, archaeology, technology, anthropology, literature, sociology, etc.), the workshop will explore the life, trajectory and the possible metamorphoses of the value, status and function of objects, as well as the relationships these artefacts have with individuals—raising in addition questions of their social uses—by focusing on their religious, symbolic, political, economic, emotional or memorial dimensions.

Abstracts (300 words max) and a short CV should be submitted by February 23rd 2018 at the latest.

We will announce the shortlist of selected abstracts by the end of March 2018.

Contact: Alice Bianchi (University Paris Diderot), email:

Lyce Jankowski (University Paris Diderot), email:

About Travis

I am a scholar of Japanese & Okinawan history with a particular interest in the history of arts and culture, and inter-Asia interactions, in the early modern period. I have been fortunate to enjoy the opportunity to live in Okinawa for six months in 2016-17, and in mainland Japan on multiple occasions, including from Sept 2019 to now.
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