Co-sponsored by Confucius Institute
Facilitated by Louisa Schein (Rutgers Anthropology) with expert guests Silvia Lindtner (University of Michigan) and Fan Yang (University of Maryland Baltimore County)
This lunch workshop will explore vocabularies of media and technology in Chinese language contexts. With China’s developing technological capabilities in 5G, artificial intelligence, data infrastructure, censorship, surveillance, and digital transactions intertwined with superpower politics and everyday life, we will work in both Chinese and English to mine language gaps that illuminate discrepant ideological environments. Emerging from China’s xuanchuan era (1949 to 1979) dominated by top-down “propaganda,” we find ourselves on the brink of societal transformations accelerated by highly participatory media. Neologisms such as fanqiang - a colloquialism that refers to getting over China’s great firewall - flourish alongside practices of zimeiti - translatable as “we media” or “self-media,” the Internet activism of wangmin or netizens and the internet entertainment of diaosi streaming. How is life lived idiosyncratically in language environments saturated by such terms? Through collaborative knowledge production, we will collect and listen to what keywords reveal about contemporary Chinese social lives engaging attendees in cumulatively mapping and historicizing China’s media and technology worlds.
Come join members of the Chinese-English Keywords Project (CEKP) in a lively discussion of what Chinese words can tell us about mediated life in China. Basic knowledge of Chinese will be helpful for participation.
The CEKP is a global and growing network of scholars interested in conceptual gaps that emerge when key terms migrate between English and Chinese. Representing fields such as anthropology, sociology, literature, politics, geography, and media studies, participants are based in China, the U.S., Europe, Australia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
For more information on the CEKP, please contact Louisa Schein at