Ping-Chun Hsiung, Chair
Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research

Second Pre-Conference for the Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research

As a Special Interest Group, the Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research held its 2nd pre-conference in conjunction with the 13th International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, May 17, 2017. With the intellectual commitment of Dr. Norman Denzin and administrative support of Dr. James Salvo, the Forum became a dynamic, stimulating space of intellectual activism among Chinese practitioners of qualitative research. Seven practitioners shared their substantive findings and/or methodological insights:

  • Man Xu (PhD student, Sociology, University of Toronto) discussed methodological challenges arising from her fieldwork in a community of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Man illustrated how she has come to recognize her own conceptual baggage and what it means to practice criticality in qualitative research.
  • Catherine Cheng (PhD candidate, Sociology, University of Toronto) examined informants’ agency in her study of Chinese marriage migrants in Taiwan. Catherine demonstrated how, for example, through emotional connectivity, the Chinese marriage migrants assert their agency in co-producing ethnographic knowledge.
  • Yige Dong (PhD candidate, Sociology, Johns Hopkins) problematized the Western-centered methodological presentism in studying women and work in a non-Western context. Through her research on Chinese care providers in the public sphere, Yige argued that it is imperative for qualitative practitioners to develop a “lens of the past” to understand societies that have undergone radical changes in the political economy.
  • Jiling Duan (PhD student, Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University Bloomington) discussed the mobilizing strategies and de-centered networks employed by a new cohort of Chinese feminist activists. She also reflected upon her own feminist involvement and practices.
  • Di Wang (PhD student, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison) analyzed how Chinese LGBT activists have challenged homophobic discourse and made the state accountable through litigation. Di examined the legal mobilizing mechanism that transforms personal struggles into collective activism.
  • Xiying Wang (Associate Professor, Beijing Normal University) discussed narratives of transnational intimacy among Chinese-Western couples in Beijing. Xiying identified salient patterns in those narratives and how they play out in everyday life.
  • Pengfei Zhao, (PhD, Inquiry Methodology Program, Indiana University) presented the findings of her dissertation research on Chinese youth who had studied in the cities but then returned to the countryside for employment. Taking a methodological stance, Pengfei discussed how the notion of “eating bitterness” is used by Chinese returned youth to articulate their employment experiences upon their return.

During the Q & A, participants and presenters engaged in lively discussion on questions such as what it meant to practice critical qualitative research as Chinese diaspora; how individuals could move forward with their research projects; how the Forum as a collective undertaking could advance the field.   

Strategic Planning, 2017-18

In the last session, we identified specific tasks that would simultaneously facilitate individual participants’ intellectual development and consolidate the Forum as a space for intellectual activism. We agreed upon three specific undertakings:

  1. Writing as a means of intellectual activism:
    Individual participants are invited to submit a reflective piece on their participation in the Forum, intellectual activism, and/or and substantive or methodological issues in critical qualitative research. The pieces will be posted on the Forum’s website. They will also be submitted to the newsletter of ICQI.
  2. Establishing inter-institutional mentorship:
    As the Chair, I will proactively facilitate inter-institutional mentorship by inviting interested participants to co-review journal manuscripts, recommending individual participants for professional opportunities and/or coordinating professional activities using the e-mail lists of 2016 and 2017. This is to utilize the Forum as an intellectual platform beyond individual participants’ local, institutional and/or disciplinary bases. The objective is to fully realize the Forum’s potential in facilitating individual career development and collective activism.
  3. Organizing and outreach efforts:
    Individual participants will reach out through their own professional networks in planning for the Forum’s pre-conference, 2018.