Call for Papers for the 7th Chinese Internet Research Conference

Call for Papers for the 7th Chinese Internet Research Conference

The Chinese Internet and Civil Society: Civic Engagement, Deliberation
and Culture

Annenberg  School for Communication, University  of Pennsylvania

Wednesday May 27 and Thursday  May 28, 2009

By the end of June 2008, China had reached 253 million Internet users,
surpassing the United   States and becoming the country with the largest
number of netizens. The theme of the 7th Chinese Internet Research
Conference, “The Chinese Internet and Civil Society: Civic
Engagement, Deliberation and Culture,” is designed to bring together
scholars and professionals to examine the Chinese Internet from
socioeconomic, political and cultural perspectives and explore uncharted
areas in innovative ways. While much of the research so far has focused
on the political implications of the Internet in China, we have yet to
understand the changes the Internet is fostering in civil society, the
intersection between the market and the state, and the Internet’s
cultural implications for identity formation, emergent cultural
phenomena and social networking.  Topics of the conference include but
are not limited to the following:

1.      Civil society and its obstacles: What is the role of the
internet in the emergent civil society of China? Is there an online
public sphere and what does it look like? How does the internet shape
the interplay between the private, public and state sectors? What are
some of the negative aspects of Chinese online social networking, e.g.
what role does the internet play in enabling terrorism, extreme
nationalism, or violence in China?

2.      The Internet and youth: How do young people use the Internet and
are there generational differences in Internet use? What
cultures/subcultures emerge over the Internet? How are civic cultures
formed through online cultural practices such as peer production,
gaming, and social networking in spaces such as Facebook, YouTube, and
Myspace? What new cultures emerge in virtual worlds such as Secondlife
and Hipihi, the blogosphere and other online spaces?

3.      The Internet, national crisis and media events: What is the role
of the Internet in managing national crisis, for example, by organizing,
coordinating and advancing volunteerism, donations and social support in
cases such as the Sichuan Earthquake? What is the role of the Internet
in managing the national image and advancing cultural understanding?
What is the role of the Internet in media events such as the Beijing

4.      Entertainment, deliberation/opinion-formation and popular
culture: How have the boundaries between news and entertainment changed
and what effect does it have on deliberation and opinion formation? What
is the role of entertainment in Internet use? To what extent are people
addressed as consumers rather than citizens online? How are concepts
such as “fun” and “play” applied in Internet use?

5.      Chinese minorities, China Proper, Greater China or “Cultural
China”: How do Chinese minorities use the Internet? How are they
represented over the Internet? How is the Internet used in other
Chinese-language speaking areas, including Hong Kong, Taiwan and
Singapore? How do Chinese diasporas use the Internet? Is global
Chineseness, if it exists, fostered through the Internet?

6.      Research methodology: What are the appropriate methodologies to
study the Chinese Internet and civil society in particular? What
comparative models can explore the overlap and differences between the
Chinese Internet and the global Internet?

The conference is organized and hosted by the Annenberg  School for
Communication, University  of Pennsylvania. It is the first time that
the conference will be held on the East Coast of the United   States,
which provides new opportunities to link scholars from China and the
rest of the world.

Paper Submission:

We welcome proposals of quantitative, qualitative and critical studies
from all disciplines. English proposal are preferred, but Chinese
proposals will also be carefully considered. Invited papers will build
upon the conference theme or address other significant issues regarding
Internet development, use, and impacts in China and the Chinese-speaking

A proposal of approximately 1000 words is due by Jan. 15, 2009.
Submissions should be sent to Dr. Hongmei Li and Sylvie Beauvais at  Accepted papers will be announced on
February 15, 2009. Completed papers should be submitted by April 24,

Competitive scholarship:

A limited amount of travel funding will be available for promising young
scholars, especially for those travelling from Asia. To indicate
interest in the travel scholarship, please attach your CV when you send
your abstract.

Paper Award:

Following a tradition of this conference, graduate students may submit
papers for the Annual Best Graduate Student Paper Award. Cash prizes
will be given to the winner or winners. To qualify, submissions need to
be full conference papers written in English authored by or coauthored
among graduate students. Deadline for submission is April 24, 2009.

Conference cooperating institutions include:

The Journalism and Media Studies Centre at the University of Hong Kong,
the School of Journalism and Communication at the Chinese University of
Hong Kong, the Intellectual Property Law Center at Drake University Law
School, the Institute for Pacific Asia at Texas A & M University, the
Singapore Internet Research Center (SIRC) at Nanyang Technological
University, the School of Journalism and Communication at Peking
University, and the Center for US-China Relations at Tsinghua
University. Paste conferences were held at the University of Hong  Kong,
Texas A   & M University, Nanyang Technological University, Michigan
State University, the University of California at Berkeley, and the
Annenberg  School for Communication at the University  of Southern


Participants are responsible for paying for their hotel. You are
encouraged to reserve a room at the Club Quarters of Philadelphia:, 1628   Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA  19103, (215)

When making a reservation, please specify that you are reserving as a
guest of the University  of Pennsylvania.

Other hotels include the Sheraton University City
( and the Inn at Penn
( .


There is no fee to register for the conference. The conference is open
to the public. If you would like to attend the conference, please
register by emailing your name, institutional affiliation and title, and
email address.

Visa Support Letters

The organizers will provide visa support letters upon request. Please
email your request to in an email entitled
“VISA SUPPORT” specifying your name as it appears in your
passport, your dates of travel, the address of the embassy to which you
will be submitting a visa request, and any other information you would
like us to include in the letter. We will email you a PDF of the support


The Annenberg  School, which is part of the University  of Pennsylvania,
is located at 3620   Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  19104,
USA. The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is a 20 minute taxi
ride from either the university campus or downtown Philadelphia. Public
rail transportation is also available from the airport.  You can also
fly to Newark International Airport (EWR) and take a one-hour train to

Annenberg School for Communication

Founded in 1959 through the generosity and vision of diplomat and
philanthropist Walter Annenberg, the Annenberg  School for Communication
at the University  of Pennsylvania is devoted to furthering our
understanding of the role of communication in public life through
research, education and service.  Annenberg offers students a firm
grounding in a wide range of approaches to the study of communication
and its methods, drawn from both the humanities and the social sciences.
It is an intellectual crossroads built on nearly 50 years of
interdisciplinary dialogue. Annenberg’s doctoral program prepares
students to make professional contributions to communication
scholarship, research, and policy.

Center for Global Communication Studies at the Annenberg School for

The Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) is a leader in
international education, research, and training in comparative media law
and policy. It affords students, academics, lawyers, regulators, civil
society representatives and others working in the media sector the
opportunity to evaluate critically and discuss comparative, global and
international communications issues. CGCS draws on various disciplines
(law, political science, and international relations among others) to
explore public policy issues and the way media and globalization
intersect with the changing nature of states.

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