Narratives of COVID-19 in China and the World: Technology, Society, and Nations

CDCS COVID-19 Symposium graphic
19 Mar 2021 - 8:30am to 20 Mar 2021 - 12:00pm
Virtual Event

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This virtual, international symposium will examine narratives of COVID-19 in China and the world, considering topics like technology, society, and nations.

Click here to register for the event.


Download the program here.

March 19

8:30am – 8:45am EST
Welcome + Opening Remarks

  • John L. Jackson, Jr., Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Guobin Yang, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

8:45am – 9:45am EST
Digital Work and Infrastructures during COVID-19

  • "Locked Down but Not Locked Out: DingTalk and Digital Workplace Surveillance in Times of COVID-19"Yizhou Xu, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • "Desperately Seeking the Public: COVID-19 Tracing Apps as the Digital Infrastructures in China and the U.S." Elaine Yuan, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Moderator: Julia Ticona, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discussants: Jack Qiu, National University of Singapore; Julia Ticona, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

10:00am – 11:00am EST
China – Africa: Connections and Conflicts

  • "What Motivates the Sharing of Misinformation about China and Covid-19? A Study of Social Media Users in Kenya and South Africa" — Herman Wasserman, University of Cape Town; Dani Madrid-Morales, University of Houston
  • "Racializing the Pandemic: Chinese Debates over African Evictions in Guangzhou" — Maria Repnikova, Georgia State University
  • Moderator: Amy Gadsden, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discussants: Amy Gadsden, University of Pensylvania; Silvia Lindtner, University of Michigan

11:10am – 12:20pm EST
Racism against Chinese Students and Asian Americans

  • "Cosmopolitan Imperative or Nationalist Sentiments: Mediated Experiences of Covid-19 Pandemic among Chinese Overseas Students" — Bingchun Meng and Zifeng Chen, London School of Economics; Jingyi Wang, University of Cambridge
  • "Freedom and Pandemic in the Eyes of Chinese Students in the U.S." — Yingyi Ma, Syracuse University
  • Moderator: Scott Moore, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discussants: Scott Moore, University of Pennsylvania; Hongmei Li, Miami University

1:30pm – 2:30pm EST
Voice and the Platformization of Truth

  • "Fact-Checking the Crisis: COVID-19, Infodemics, and the Platformization of Truth" — Kelley Cotter, Julia R. DeCook, and Shaheen Kanthawala, Arizona State University
  • "How TikTok Functions as the Voice of Young People in the Times of COVID-19" — Daniel Klug, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Moderator: Yue Hou, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discussants: Lisa Keranen, University of Colorado, Denver; Yue Hou, University of Pennsylvania

March 20

8:30 am – 10:00am EST
Politics of Sharing, Connection, and Mourning on Social Media

  • "Visible Mourning on the Wailing Wall of the Internet in China" — Cao Xun, Soochow University; Runxi Zeng, Chongqing University
  • “The Politics and Politicization of a Global Pandemic: How Public and Private Sharing of Narratives on COVID-19 Were Managed on WeChat” — Lotus Ruan, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Jeffrey Knockel, Caroline Wesley, Jakub Dalek, and Nicola Lawford, University of Toronto
  • "Cultivating Safe Connections: Narratives and Practices of Access Collaboration in a Time of Distance" — Zihao Lin, University of Chicago
  • Moderator: Benson Zhou, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discussants: Ruoyun Bai, University of Toronto; Fen Lin, City University of Hong Kong; Benson Zhou, University of Pennsylvania

10:10am – 11:10am EST
Nations and Nationalism during COVID-19

  • "Unpacking the 'K-quarantine': Biopolitical Nationalism and Narratives of 'Quarantine State' in the Era of Global Pandemic" — Ji-Hyun Ahn, University of Washington Tacoma
  • "Rewriting China’s Narrative of COVID-19 through Twitter Diplomacy" — Wendy Leutert and Nicholas Atkinson, Indiana University
  • Moderator: Jacques deLisle, University of Pennsylvania
  • Discussants: Jacques deLisle, University of Pennsylvania; Soomin Seo, Temple University

11:20am EST
Concluding Remarks and Future Publication Plan

  • Catherine Cocks, Editor-in-Chief, Michigan State University Press
  • Stephen Hartnett, University of Colorado, Denver; Editor, Book Series on US-China Relations in the Age of Globalization, Michigan State University Press
  • Guobin Yang, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Funding support of the symposium comes from the Penn China Research and Engagement Fund of the Office of the Provost at the University of Pennsylvania. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Contemporary China.

This event may be photographed and/or video recorded for archival, educational, and related promotional purposes. We also video stream many of these video recordings through the Annenberg web site. By attending or participating in this event, you are giving your consent to be photographed and/or video recorded and you are waiving any and all claims regarding the use of your image by the Annenberg School for Communication. The Annenberg School for Communication, at its discretion, may provide a copy of the photos/footage upon written request.