Global Perspective

Building a Sense of Community in Chinese Studies

On October 24, 2015, the Center for Asia Pacific Studies hosted the first meeting of the academic year for the Chinese Studies Research Group.  Faculty, graduate students, and independent scholars interested in and doing research on China gathered at USF to share their work in progress and to meet others with similar interests.  Melissa Dale, the Center’s executive director, started the group in 2012, “To create a sense of community among faculty and graduate students working on China at universities in the San Francisco Bay Area.”  Now in its fourth year, the group has grown in numbers from just a handful of members at the first meeting to now include more than 40 members.  Each meeting is designed to provide opportunities for doctoral candidates to present their dissertation research while faculty from local universities present their most recent research in progress.

At the October meeting, Gina Tam, PhD Candidate in the Department of History at Stanford University, shared her research on how local language/dialect was central to the creation of a national language (guoyu).  Tam traced the development of guoyu and noted how the Chinese, with all of their various dialects, ended up favoring that of Beijing.  Haiyan Lee, Associate Professor of Chinese and Comparative Literature, Stanford University shared her fascinating research on happiness in China.  Lee encouraged the group to consider the differences between Chinese and Western conceptions of happiness as she traced “the rise and fall (and rise again) of vernacular happiness in China.  Scholars interested in presenting their research to the group are welcome to send an email to: