Techno-Orientalism, Vol. II

Ed. collection, 8. August 2022.

Edited Collection: Techno-Orientalism, Vol. II

Call for Papers

Editors: David S. Roh, Betsy Huang, Greta Niu, and Christopher T. Fan

Deadline: August 8, 2022

So much has happened since the publication of Techno-Orientalism in 2015. The field has evolved considerably from its focus on speculative fiction to include disparate arenas ranging from gaming, political science, Asian studies, religious studies, to a general cultural critique.  Techno-Orientalist discourse has emerged, for example, in discussions of COVID-19, Asian/Asian American athletes’ roboticism at the Olympics, and criticism of the K-Pop industry.  At the same time, there has been an undeniable uptick—indeed, a boom—in the quantity of works of speculative fiction (SF) by Asians and Asian Americans. In many of these works, it is clear that techno-Orientalism itself has become a trope, a point of self-ironization in films like After Yang and Advantageous, and novels like On Such a Full Sea and Severance.  All of this has taken place against the backdrop of a world that is radically different than the world of 2015: COVID-19, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, threats of a “new cold war” with China, and the re-emergence of “strong man” politics especially in Asia and Southeast Asia. This volume by no means seeks to limit itself to a post-2015 world, however.  On the contrary, it aims to reflect these developments by further expanding the techno-Orientalism analytic both historically and conceptually.

Why, for example, are so many AIs gendered as men, while androids are gendered as Asian women? Furthermore, how does techno-Orientalist discourse explain seemingly contradictory reports about the origin of COVID-19 from both Chinese “wet markets” and Chinese laboratories, a confluence of premodern and hypermodern biowarfare taking place at the same time and from, sometimes, the same sources? How have anxieties about surveillance and financial technologies coalesced around the figure of “China” and a renewed global South willing to accept China’s vaccines, technology (5G, infrastructure, etc.), and loans? What national and regional differences can we discern regarding the uptake of SF and techno-Orientalism (predominance in Northeast Asian/”flying geese” countries, popularity in South Asia, emergence in Southeast Asia [especially the Philippines])? How has SF participated in the envisioning of a post-globalization world of “new cold war” spheres of influence and other orientalized geopolitical formations (e.g., the ensemble casts of Sense8, Invasion, and The Matrix: Resurrections, the Orientalization of Russia and China partnership vis-a-vis Ukraine)? Has an anti-techno-Orientalist aesthetic emerged (such as After Yang, and “neo-frontier” novels that take us into the past rather than the future)?

The editors invite contributors to extend the scholarly discussion with novel approaches to techno-Orientalism.  We seek submissions engaged with understudied geographies such as South/Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, along with burgeoning intersections such as technological ecologies, global reproductive justice, and dialogues with Afrofuturism and indigenous futurisms; mediums like graphic novels, podcasts, visual and plastic art; genres like young adult fiction; moreover, given increasing number of courses on the subject, we also welcome submissions on pedagogical approaches.  Chapters might include discussions of films/TV shows such as Blade Runner 2049, Altered Carbon, The Expanse, Everything, Everywhere, All at Once; fiction such as On Such a Full Sea, Anime Wong, Dune; games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Warframe, and Mirror’s Edge; as well as critiques of discourses in popular journalism and the tech sectors, including artificial intelligence and robotics. 

General inquiries and abstracts (300-400 words), along with a 2-page C.V., should be submitted by August 8, 2022, to David Roh at david.roh@utah.edu, while completed chapters (no more than 5,500 words) must be submitted by January 17, 2023, following MLA formatting guidelines. We plan to select abstracts and notify contributors by/around September 1st. The editors are in conversation with Rutgers University Press, which published the first volume, for publication.

Contact Info: David S. Roh
Contact Email: david.roh@utah.edu
URL: http://davidsroh.com