Anti-Chinese, anti-Asian racism during the current COVID-19 pandemic

Special issue for Migration, Mobility & Displacement (Deadline: November 15, 2020)

As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, we are also seeing rapid and ferocious eruption of racism, described by observers as a “potentially more fearsome and shadowy pandemic (Shah 2020).” COVID-19 is alternatively constructed as an issue of race in the scapegoating the Chinese discourse and denied as an issue of race, resulting in “virtually disappear[ing]” the reality of the disproportionate impact on Black and Indigenous communities (Bain, et al. 2020). While there is an urgent need for critical studies of both sets of race-centred phenomena, the focus of this special issue is particularly on the resurgence of anti-Chinese and anti-Asian hate and violence. Faced with increasing violence and hate since March 2020, some, though not all, Chinese Canadians have engaged in contentious discussions at home and in various online groups. For many, they took political actions in Canada for the first time: they signed petitions, they participated in online and in-person rallies, they wrote letters to the media and politicians. Passionately though sometimes awkwardly, they are entering into public discourse about racism, xenophobia, intersectionality, diasporic identities, and (trans) national citizenship.

This special issue seeks to examine both the rise of anti-Chinese, anti-Asian racism, Chinese Canadians’ and other Asian Canadians’ responses in the context of historical and contemporary conditions: discrimination against the Chinese and Asians since the 19th century which was often justified by the language of disease (Larsson 2020), Chinese migration and settlement patterns especially since the 1970s, the Chinese and Asian Canadians’ positioning in settler-colonial relations and racial politics in Canada, negative and positive stereotypes about Asians and their consequences, and recent geopolitical tension associated with China’s rise in global economic, political, cultural, and technological significance.

We seek proposals for essays of 4000 to 6000 words that engage with issues outlined above. For consideration, please send a 250-word abstract to us Xiaobei Chen at and Wei Xing by November 15, 2020. The deadline for papers will be February 28, 2021. All papers will go through blind review. We are planning for submitting the package of articles to the board of MMD in June 2021 and publishing in the fall of 2021.

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