Prof. Shih-Diing Liu and Prof. Wei Shi’s new book, Affective Spaces: The Cultural Politics of Emotion in China, was published in February 2024 and received financial support from the Excellence Publication Scheme of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences (IAS) at the University of Macau. During the Spring term of 2024, the authors presented their work at UM, HKU, CUHK, Nanjing University, and Harvard University.

Affective Spaces: The Cultural Politics of Emotion in China

In the book talk at UM titled “Affective Spaces as Method”, Prof. Liu introduced the themes and background of the book, explaining why affect and emotion matter to social life. The event attracted an audience from various academic disciplines and received an enthusiastic response.

Book talk at UM

Prof. Liu’s presentation at HKU’s Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures, chaired by Prof. Daniel Vukovich from the Department of Comparative Literature, focused on the psychology of Chinese nationalism. Drawing on the works of Yuzo Mizoguchi, Kuan-Hsing Chen, Jacques Rancière, and critical theories of psychoanalysis, this talk mapped out the historical mediation and transformation of nationalist affective spaces through the analysis of films.

Presentation at HKU’s Center for the Study of Globalization and Cultures

Prof. Liu’s presentation at CUHK’s School of Journalism and Communication, chaired by Prof. Anthony Fung, explained why and how emotions open up new avenues for understanding contemporary Chinese social media. Prof. Liu indicated that emotions play an essential role in shaping popular identities and public culture. The discussion also explored topics such as affective publics and archives of feelings.

Presentation at CUHK’s School of Journalism and Communication

The book talk at Nanjing University was hosted by Prof. Guangfeng Yuan from the School of Journalism and Communication. The event was attended by faculty members and research students from various disciplines at Nanjing University. The talk contextualized the notion of affective space and underscored why the concept holds promise for innovative social research beyond China.

The book talk at Nanjing University

The event at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, titled ‘The Political Life of Affective Spaces’, was hosted by Elizabeth J. Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. The talk revolved around the analytical foundation for the new book. Prof. Liu’s presentation contextualized the concept of affective space, explaining why it provides a unique lens for exploring topics such as emotional mobilization, digital affective publics, and state-society relations.

The event at the Harvard-Yenching Institute