The Asia Workshop on “Contentious Politics and its Repercussions in Asia” in Hong Kong






“Contentious Politics and its Repercussions in Asia”
January 10–16, 2021 in Hong Kong
Updated: 3/20/20

NOTE: due to health risks posed by COVID-19 and the resulting travel restrictions, we have postponed the workshop to January 2021. The deadline for submitting applications has been extended to August 15, 2020. We continue to monitor WHO, CDC, and local health guidelines and will post further updates as needed. 

We continue to invite applications from early-career scholars who would like to participate in the next APSA Asia Pacific Workshop. The program is an opportunity to connect with scholars from across East and Southeast Asia and advance research related to the study of contentious politics in Asia. The workshop is part of a multi-year effort to support political science research among early-career scholars in East and Southeast Asia, and to strengthen research networks linking Asian scholars with colleagues overseas.

The workshop will be held from January 10–16, 2021 in partnership with City University of Hong Kong. Leading the workshop will be Teri L. Caraway (University of Minnesota), Edmund W. Cheng (City University of Hong Kong), Jai Kwan Jung (Korea University), and Teresa Wright (California State University-Long Beach). The organizers will cover participation costs (including airfare, lodging, and materials) for up to 22 qualified applicants. The working language of the workshop is English.

The deadline for applications has been extended to Saturday, August 15, 2020. See the Call for Applications.pdf.

Eligible Participants
The workshop is intended for PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in political science, international relations, and other social science disciplines who are citizens of countries in East and Southeast Asia, especially those who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the region (defined as Brunei, Cambodia, China, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam). We also welcome applications from citizens of countries outside the region or who are currently based at universities or research institutes in the United States.

Scholars should apply with a manuscript or research project in progress that they will present at the workshop. Professional fluency in English is required. Applications from scholars working on topics related to the workshop theme (as described below) are especially encouraged.

Workshop Theme
Focusing on East and Southeast Asia, this workshop will examine the conditions under which popular contention erupts and evolves, shapes political institutions, produces political changes, or solidifies the status quo. The workshop adopts a broad interpretation of contentious politics, including revolutions, social movements, protests, and insurgencies. Participants will explore key theories and puzzles in the study of contentious politics, as well as their connections to and implications for wider inquiries concerning interest articulation, collective action, democratization, governance, regime legitimacy, civic engagement, and conflict resolution. Participants will utilize a range of methodological tools to analyze public behavior and opinion, mobilizing structures, state responses, and political outcomes before, during, and after the occurrence of popular protests. Thematic emphases include:

Origins and Dynamics of Popular Contention

  • Political process, resource mobilization, and cultural communication approaches
  • Explaining the ebb and flow of protest events
  • Channels and repertoires of mobilization, coordination, diffusion facilitated by digital communication technologies and antecedent movement networks
  • The role of elite coalitions, civil society capacity, and international linkages in shaping the motivations, tactics, frames, and identities of political contention

Democratic Recession, Authoritarian Resilience, and State Protest Responses

  • Liberal democracies, hybrid regimes, and one-party authoritarianism during political upheavals
  • Repression, concession, toleration, attrition, counter-mobilization, propaganda, and fake news
  • The policing of protests and its impact on the function/legitimacy of court systems and other institutions
  • The institutionalization or deinstitutionalization of movement organizations, political parties, and leaderless movements in the aftermath of mass mobilization

Political Institutions, Movement Networks, and Conflict Resolution

  • Institutional innovations to enhance accountability, transparency, and/or openness, and to resolve conflicts and rebuild public trust
  • Initiatives to increase institutions’ capacity to co-opt, absorb, or represent a range of societal interests
  • The formation of post-movement alliances and their engagement/contention with regime authorities

Advanced Field Methods and Research Potentials 

  • The challenges of survey protests: sampling frames, survey methods, representativeness, and validity
  • Toolkits for executing ethnography, onsite surveys, experiment design and big data analysis
  • Comparison of research findings obtained from different approaches, methods, and case studies

To provide a framework for reflection and investigation, attendees will critically assess various conceptual frameworks, case studies, research designs, and methodological tools. The workshop will include toolkit sessions on conducting fieldwork, framing research puzzles, publication ethics, manuscript preparation and publication, serving as a good reviewer, and other professional development topics. Academic sessions will include guest lectures, roundtable discussions, and panel discussions of participants’ research. Following the workshop, alumni will receive 2 years’ membership to APSA and will be eligible to apply for small research grants.

Contingency Plan
The 2019-2020 protests in Hong Kong are illustrative of the popular contention that is the focus of this workshop. At the same time, the rapid spread of COVID-19 highlights the uncertainty and ever-changing dynamics in which these events take place. APSA and workshop organizers will notify selected workshop fellows of any updates/changes to the date and location of the workshop in September 2020.

How to Apply
Completed applications, including all necessary supporting documents (in PDF or Word format), must be submitted by Saturday, August 15. Selected fellows will be contacted in September 2020. Applications must be in English and include:

  1. The completed online Application Form.
  2. A detailed, recent curriculum vitae/resume.
  3. A research statement (2,000 words maximum) describing the work-in-progress you propose to develop and present at the workshop. This statement should outline the main focus of the paper, the methods used, the data/fieldwork on which it is based, and how it relates to the workshop theme(s). The research project should not be any part of a co-authored project and should not be an excerpt from a work that is already completed or accepted for publication. Submissions may be derived from an ongoing dissertation project if also suitable for publication as a journal article.
  4. Two letters of reference on official letterhead and scanned as electronic files. If you are a graduate student, one letter should be from your dissertation supervisor. If you are a researcher or faculty member, letters can come from a former dissertation supervisor, a colleague at your home institution, a university official, or an employer. Your letter-writers should preferably send these letters separately to


For more information, contact Please do not contact the workshop leaders directly.