Prof. Liu and Prof. Wei Shi’s new book, Affective Spaces: The Cultural Politics of Emotion in China, was published in February 2024. During the Spring term of 2024, the authors presented their work at HKU, CUHK, Nanjing University, and Harvard University.

Prof. Liu’s presentation at HKU’s Centre 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.

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

The book talk at Nanjing University contextualized affective space and underscored why the concept holds promise for innovative social research beyond China. 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 event at the Harvard-Yenching Institute, titled ‘The Political Life of Affective Spaces’, 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 talk was hosted by Elizabeth J. Perry, Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute.

Affective Spaces received financial support from the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Macau.