Upcoming event: The 30th anniversary international conference of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas

November 7, 2022

The Asian American Research Center (AARC) and the Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies Program (AAADS) at the University of California, Berkeley, will be  hosting the 30th anniversary international conference of the International Society for the Study of Chinese Overseas (ISSCO 世界海外人研究学会) from Nov. 11-12, 2022, at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco. 

The ISSCO was founded in 1992 in San Francisco following the first non-governmental international conference on the Chinese diaspora after the end of the Cold War. The AAADS program (formerly Asian American Studies) at UC Berkeley was the host of that historic conference, as well.

The conference is multi-sited. Aside from the San Francisco site, Jinan University (南大学) in Guangzhou, China, is co-sponsoring a conference for scholars in China who cannot travel to the U.S. due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, and the UCLA Asia Pacific Center will be co-sponsoring the online portion of the conference. Professor Lok Siu, chair of the 30th anniversary ISSCO conference and head of both AARC and AAADS, recognizes the significance of their support. “We are grateful for the cooperation and generosity of Jinan’s co-sponsorship,” she said. “We also want to acknowledge UCLA’s support in making possible online presentations by scholars all around the world."

This year’s conference is “Diasporic Futures: Sinophobia, Techno-Political Strife, and the Politics of Care.” The theme “reflects the continuing adverse impact of the 2020 global pandemic and the persistent anti-China and anti-Chinese rhetoric in today’s political discourse, both of which have had dire consequences on ethnic Chinese minorities living in some 170 countries throughout the world,”  said Siu. She cited skyrocketing incidents of anti-Chinese violence and prejudice across the U.S. and in many countries, notably Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Almost 350 scholars of Chinese diaspora studies from countries on all five continents will take part. About 320 papers will be presented, either in person or online, in both Chinese and English. Many prominent historians, social scientists, health experts and community leaders have been invited to address the conference.

In stark contrast to the 1992 conference, when scholars from both sides of not only the East-West divide, but also the Taiwan Strait (made possible by the ’92 Consensus or ‘92), came together for intellectual exchange and benefitted from the so-called “peace dividend.”

Siu said the 2022 conference will take place in the shadow of the new cold war between the U.S. and China and in the midst of mounting tension between mainland China and Taiwan. She added that "runaway global inflation" and “the proxy war between Russia and the U.S.” are also contributing to the current climate of antagonism.  

“We hope this international conference will advance a better understanding of ethnic Chinese minorities in these contentious, troubled times,” Siu said, “and help bring forth creative solutions that will bring peace to the world."

For more information on the conference, please visit theAARC/ISSCO event webpage