Innovations in Public Engagement for the Social Sciences and Humanities

A two-day international conference.

* Memory and Public history

* Problems of Representation

* Knowledge and Inquiries


Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Cuong Bui The, Vietnam TBC

Professor Ursula Rao, Leipzig University, Germany TBC

Professor Kuan-Hsing Chen, Taiwan TBC

Professor Guido Abbattista – the University of Trieste, Italy TBC


Invitation and Call for general papers:

For the International Conference 4-5 October 2019 at Ton Duc Thang University, HCMC, Vietnam, we would like to hear from those working on innovative approaches to public engagement in the social sciences and humanities. Methodological, empirical, archival or conceptual-theoretical work is encouraged, especially where a keen interest in application, consequence, practice or outcome is involved. Sometimes this is called impact on the one side, or intervention on the other, but we are nevertheless interested in all inquiries and investigations which advance the emancipatory possibilities of scholarship in a radically changed global context.

Social and cultural practices in both modern life and in the preservation of historical memory, could suitably connect sociology, social work, history, ethno-anthropology (museums, exhibitions, fairs, monuments, collective ceremonies), cultural tourism, eco-preservation policies, and other urgent contemporary social issues. Comparative studies are welcome, but not the only focus. We are especially interested in deep and detailed studies which have wider significance and suggestions for ‘best practice’. After many years of ‘interdisciplinarity’, or at least talk about this, we are interested to see examples of how this works in practice. We can assume all studies are comparative and interdisciplinary in a way, and all certainly have consequences, implications…

We are especially keen to hear from those working in three overlapping areas of engaged activity: these may be people working as anthropologists, historians, museum and preservation/heritage studies; cultural geographers, sociologists and in cultural studies; or on border studies, migrant labor and workplace and institutional inquiries. Our themes will interact within the structure of the conference, but we are keen in particular to go deeply into each area.

With Memory and Public History we anticipate discussions of the ways scholarship might best go about communicating in public the experience of the past and of human, cultural and environmental diversity, including technological and bio-political innovations and their contemporary reshaping of pasts and presents.

With Problems of Representation we seek to issues related to contemporary forms of social conflict, including unequal citizenship and new racisms, the rise of right-wing populist movements and infiltration of religious power in secular governmentality, migrant workers as neoliberal slavery, questions of human trafficking and refugees, developmentalism and environmental pollution, crony capitalism and geo-economic zoning politics.

With Knowledge and Inquiries it seems to us crucial that our work respond to rapid reconfigurations of the very possibility and consequences of engaged social sciences and humanities scholarship. Whether the changing context is imposed by governments or industry or civil society, when we deal with institutional change and competitive and imperative demands, we do need to develop new tools for knowledge(s) and new sensibilities/sensitivities. This urgency in turn presents as a particularly useful and targeted focus for those interested in how scholarship might remain relevant and critical in the face of global trends – funding cuts, social constraints, growing conservatism and multiple crises of certitude.

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam will be our venue, but it need not necessarily be the context or focus of all papers, nor are comparative, or East-West or ‘post’ or neo-colonial framings always to be foregrounded in the papers. We are interested however in papers that encourage us to think anew about the implications of where we are and about how to re-orient humanities and social sciences scholarship in contexts where rising tensions in East Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia call on us to innovate and apply once more.


Subthemes we are hoping to further develop:

·      History, memory, heritage, practices

·      Geography, places, urbanisms, dark tourism

·      Psychologies of engagement

·      Education, pedagogy, activisms in education, feminism, Marxism

·      Ethno-anthropology, museums, exhibitions, fairs, monuments, collective ceremonies ·      Cultural tourism, ecology, eco-preservation policies

·      Challenging cultural paradigms and canons, media dissemination

·      Sociology and other urgent contemporary social issues ·      Precarity, Itinerary, Travelling

·      Philosophy and reflexivity

·      Modern Languages and literature

·      Postcolonial Studies

·      Provincialisation

·      Asia as Method

·      Co-Research, collaboration, inquiries

·      Public secrets, local knowledge



To be confirmed

Thư ký hội thảo/ Conference Secretary: ThS. Sử Lê Phương Thảo, Trường đại học Tôn Đức Thắng, Việt Nam

Conference language

• English

Submission process:

  • Authors are invited to submit unpublished, original work as full conference paper of not more than 5,000 words including abstract and references.
  • Manuscripts should be compiled in the following order: title page (including acknowledgements as well as Funding and grant-awarding bodies); abstract; keywords; main text; references; appendices (as appropriate); table(s) with caption(s) (on individual pages); figure caption(s) (as a list).
  • Abstracts of approximately 200 words are required for all manuscripts submitted.
  • Each manuscript should include 5 to 6 keywords listed in an alphabetical order.

Editorial Procedures

All papers considered appropriate for publishing are subject to review by two reviewers. The Editor reserves the right to request the author(s) to make any necessary changes in their papers or to reject the paper submitted. Following the review, the suggestions on how to correct/adjust the full papers will be sent to the author for follow-up. Once the final version of the paper is accepted, authors may not make further changes to the text.


Partner organisers:

  • Trường đại học Tôn Đức Thắng (TDTU, VIETNAM).
  • University of Trieste, Italy; 
  • Universität Leipzig, Germany; 
  • National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan
  • Portsmouth University UK
  • Inter-Asia Cultural Studies