Call for Papers for our 8th Annual Conference!

50 Years After Bruce Lee: Asian Martial Arts On-Screen and Off

19-21 July 2023, University of Sheffield (UK)


On the 50th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s untimely death, our 2023 conference will be structured by two overarching questions:

  1. What is the current status of Asian martial arts in the world?
  2. What are the key debates and issues facing Martial Arts Studies today?

The conference will have three pathways of concurrent parallel sessions, each engaging with a specific theme for the duration of the conference:

  • Theme 1. Studies of Bruce Lee and his influence on martial arts, both on-screen and off;
  • Theme 2. The status and significance of Asian martial arts more broadly, both on-screen and off;
  • Theme 3. Studies of current debates and pressing issues in and around the academic field of martial arts studies.

Those attending the conference will therefore be able to focus entirely on one theme throughout the duration, or dip into different themes for specific panels and papers.

To submit an abstract for the conference, please signal which theme you are primarily responding to, from the three themes below.

Theme One: Bruce Lee and Asian Martial Arts

In the half-century since Bruce Lee, what has been the story, status and significance of Asian martial arts? Bruce Lee was pivotal in making Asian martial arts into a global phenomenon, both on-screen and off. His on-screen choreography set new standards and his polemical publications about martial arts training threw down a gauntlet, the reverberations of which are still being felt, in film, television, media, popular culture, and of course, martial arts practice around the world. This conference – held on the 50th anniversary of his tragic death – first seeks to interrogate the status of Asian martial arts, both on-screen and off, in the wake of Bruce Lee. Thus, for our first theme, we invite abstracts that engage with the connections between Bruce Lee and Asian martial arts, whether in terms of cinematic styles, the development of martial arts discourses, or in the diverse connections of these realms with other areas of media, culture and society.

Theme Two: Asian Martial Arts Beyond Bruce Lee

The world of Asian martial arts – both on-screen and off – is extremely diverse and far-reaching. Many kinds of study of Asian martial arts should not be tethered to a discussion of Bruce Lee. Accordingly, we also invite proposals for papers on aspects of Asian martial arts that are not necessarily connected with Bruce Lee. We are particularly interested in papers that focus on the significance, status, controversies and issues around Asian martial arts connected with film, television, and other media.

Theme Three: Current Debates and Issues in Martial Arts Studies

Martial Arts Studies has emerged as a vibrant research nexus in English language scholarship over the last decade. Articles, monographs, collections and conferences are appearing with increasing frequency and with ever-greater thematic, conceptual and methodological interconnection and cross-disciplinary literacy. Given this proliferation, it is arguably a good moment to pause and take stock of the development of martial arts studies as a field. Accordingly, we invite papers that reflect on current debates and issues in martial arts studies. What have been the major achievements? What have been the stalemates or sticking points? What should be the current concerns of scholars? What are its current, emergent and possible new directions?

To submit a proposal for an individual paper (20 minutes), please send one Word Document to Dr Wayne Wong ( and Professor Paul Bowman ( containing the following information:

  • Title of your presentation
  • Abstract (300 words max)
  • Bio-note (150 words max)
  • Keywords (5 max)
  • Theme (1, 2, or 3 – see above)
  • Contact email address
  • Link to personal or professional webpage (if available)

Deadline for Proposals: 1 January 2023
Notification of decision: 1 February 2023
Registration opens: 1 March 2023

If you have any questions or wish to discuss potential ideas, please contact either/both Professor Paul Bowman ( and/or Dr. Wayne Wong (