Call for Abstracts

The 4th Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research

Special Interest Group in

15th International Congress on Qualitative Inquiry

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

May 15 -18, 2019


The Forum’s purpose is to establish and advance critical Chinese qualitative research. Since its establishment in 2015, the Forum has invited interested researchers and practitioners at all stages of their careers to present their work, receive feedback, and bring their work into fruition. Echoing the thematic focus of the 15th ICQI, “Qualitative Inquiry and the Politics of Resistance,” the 4th Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research will focus on the politics of knowledge production in relation to criticality and resistance in the Chinese contexts. This focus is situated in, and intends to advance, existing literature on the subject matter.


In the 1970s and 1980s, lacking access to China, American anthropologists conducted fieldwork in Taiwan in order to understand Chinese society in relation to women, family, religion, social change, and economic development (Diamond, 1973; Gaillin, 1984; Gates, 1987; Kung, 1976; Wolf, 1972). Their research and writing on their fieldwork (Wolf, 1992) provided empirical and methodological contexts for a new cohort of Taiwanese scholars who came to explore the overlooked structures, misunderstood practices, and/or unspoken norms of Taiwan (Hsiung, 1996; Hu, 1984; Ka, 1993; Shieh, 1990). They also incited debates among social scientists in Taiwan and in the Chinese diaspora on unique contributions of doing qualitative research in the Chinese contexts (Cai & Hsiao, 1986; Yang & Wen, 1982). Recent scholarly work has mainly concentrated on substantive issues addressed by social scientists in the field, with insufficient attention directed toward methodological and/or epistemological perspectives (Hsiao & Fell, 2018; Shieh, 2008).


In the China field, there are two volumes written by sinologists about doing fieldwork in China (Cornet & Blumenfield, 2016; Heimer & Thøgersen, 2006). Much of the discussion focuses on practical issues pertinent to ethnographic fieldwork when international scholars carry out their research projects in China.


Conceptualizing qualitative inquiry as a means of knowledge production and reproduction, the 4th Forum attempts to advance the field by reviewing existing literature, examining individual practices, and facilitating interdisciplinary dialogue. The Forum will address the following thematic issues:


  • On existing literature on the politics of qualitative inquiry in the Chinese contexts:
  1. what topics have been studied, through what empirical and/or theoretical lenses, with what methodological approaches, and what conclusions have been drawn;
  2. what has been written about the practices of ethnographic fieldwork, e.g. how access is negotiated, informed consent is practiced, observations are conducted, and data are recorded and analyzed;
  3. what has been written about qualitative interviewing, e.g. how access is negotiated, informed consent is secured, and interviews are conducted, recorded, and analyzed;


  • On current issues pertinent to critical qualitative inquiry, methologically/epistemologically examine and reflect upon your own work:
  1. How is your research topic chosen, based upon what rationale, through what empirical and/or theoretical lenses, and in order to address what research question?
  2. What strategies have you employed to conduct your research, e.g. how do you address challenges, mobilize resources, and/or avoid obstacles?
  3. How is your work informed by the literature on qualitative inquiry in the Chinese contexts? How does it advance this literature?


  • On research ethics in the Chinese contexts:
  1. How are research ethics defined, administrated, communicated, and/or practiced through administrative units, by individual researchers, and/or to informants?
  2. How do research ethics intersect with broader, pre-existing norms and practices that govern political, institutional, social, and/or personal relationships?
  3. How do overt and/or covert norms and practices pertinent to research ethics shape the spoken/unspoken and/or written/unwritten truths and realities?


  • On disciplinary and interdisciplinary practices:
  1. how ethnography is conducted within and/or across disciplinary boundaries (For example, how is ethnographic research conducted in education and ethnic education similar and/or different in topic, orientation, and methodological approach? How does ethnographic research conducted by historians and sociologists differ in topic, orientation, and/or rationale? How is ethnographic fieldwork conducted in medicine or health fields?;
  2. how qualitative interview is carried out within and/or across disciplinary boundaries (for example, How is the boundary between the insider and outsider understood and negotiated in education vs. ethnic education? How is biographical interview conducted by historians vs. sociologists? How is interview conducted in the medical fields by differently positioned researchers/practitioners?)
  3. What are interdisciplinary similarities and differences? What are the implications of these similarities and differences in knowledge production through qualitative research?


With the intellectual synergy built on our annual gathering at the Forum and Congress, we have begun turning presented papers into publications. Under the leadership of Dr. Norman K. Denzin, we are preparing a Special Issue on “Doing Critical Qualitative Research in China Studies” for Qualitative Inquiry. In the coming years, we will continue consolidating such efforts with support from Dr. Denzin.


Abstracts addressing the issues listed above will be organized for presentation at the Forum. Abstracts on other topics will be arranged for presentation at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry. Submissions should include both an English (150-word) and Chinese (300-word) abstract. The presentation at the Forum can be in either English or Chinese. The presentation at the Congress will be in English.


Please use the following link and follow the instructions of the ICQI for abstract submission.



Dr. Ping-Chun Hsiung (Department of Sociology, University of Toronto)


Recruitment Officers

Sophy Cai, (Faculty of Education, Xiamen University, China)

Jiling Duan (Department of Gender Studies, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)

Xiying Wang (Faculty of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University, China)

Pengfei Zhao (Faculty of Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, USA)


The Forum of Critical Chinese Qualitative Research






Cai, Y.-M., & Hsiao, H.-H. M. (Eds.). (1986). Shehuixue Zhongguohua (Sinologizing Sociology). Taipei: Juliu chubanshe.


Cornet, C., & Blumenfield, T. (Eds.). (2016). Doing Fieldwork in China…with kids!: The Dynamics of Accompanied Fieldwork in the People’s Republic. Cophenhagen S, Denmark: NIAS Press.


Diamond, N. (1973). The Middle Class Family Model in Taiwan: Women’s Place is in the Home. Asian Survey, 13, 853-872.


Gaillin, R. (1984). The Impact of Development on Women’s Work and Status: A Case Study from Taiwan. Retrieved from East Lansing:

Gates, H. (1987). Chinese Working-Class Lives: Getting by in Taiwan. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.


Heimer, M., & Thøgersen, S. (Eds.). (2006). Doing Fieldwork in China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.


Hsiao, H.-H. M., & Fell, D. (2018). Introduction: The State of the Field of Taiwan Studies. International Journal of Taiwan Studies, 1(1), 5-10.


Hsiung, P.-C. (1996). Living rooms as factories : class, gender, and the satellite factory system in Taiwan = [Keting chi kungchang]. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.


Hu, T.-L. (1984). My Mother-in-Law’s Village: Rural Industrialization and Change in Taiwan. Taipei: Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica.


Ka, C.-M. (1993). Market, Social Networks, and the Production Organization of Small-Scale Industry in Taiwan. Taipei: Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica.


Kung, L. (1976). Factory Work and Women in Taiwan: Changes in Self-Image and Status. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 2(1), 35-58.


Shieh, G.-S. (1990). Manufacturing “Boss”: Subcontracting Networks Under Dependent Capitalism in Taiwan. (PhD), University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley.

Shieh, G.-S. (Ed.) (2008). Interlocution: A Thematic History of Taiwanese Sociology, 1945-2005. Taipei: Qunxue Chunbanshe.


Wolf, M. (1972). Women and the Family in Rural Taiwan. Stanford: Standford University Press.


Wolf, M. (1992). A Thrice Told Tale: Feminism, Postmodernism & Ethnographic Responsibility. Stanford: Stanford University Press.


Yang, G.-S., & Wen, C.-Y. (Eds.). (1982). Shehui ji Xingwei Kexue Yanjiu de Zhongguohua (Sinologizing Social and Behavioral Sciences).