Director’s Note

Tzu-hui Celina Hung
Interim Director, Center for Global Asia, NYU Shanghai

Despite ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Global Asia has adapted swiftly to them through effective teamwork and unceasing research momentum. Although we are a small team, the Center has harvested a year of consistent productivity in research, teaching, training, and outreach. Here are some of the highlights we’d like to share: 

With funding from the Henry Luce Foundation, we held two research meetings with scholars worldwide as part of our multi-year project, Port Cities Environments in Global Asia. First, we conducted the second part of the workshop on “Indian Ocean Port Cities and Their Hinterlands,” which we began in the last academic year. Second, with scholars based in Mainland China, we organized panel discussions on trends and concerns related to the Belt and Road Initiative. On our virtual platforms, not only have we continued to build our “Asian Studies in China” and “China-India Studies” database projects, we have also come to the final stage in preparing for a virtual gallery exhibition entitled “Flowers on One Stalk: China-India Artistic Interactions in the 20th Century,” to be launched on our website this October. Currently the Center is also collaborating with the French Institute of Pondicherry, India, to create a digital archive documenting social and environmental transformations along the Coromandel Coast. 

As part of our continuous effort to promote research and teaching at NYU Shanghai, the Center organized a year-round webinar series on humanities and social-scientific research. We hosted sixteen well-attended public webinars for audiences worldwide on topics concerning global Asia, offered by scholars from history, anthropology, literature, dance, international relations, film and media, environmental studies, gender and sexuality studies, and sinology. Furthermore, we continued the tradition of our annual “Young Scholars Symposium on Asia and the World,” in collaboration with fellows from the academic program, “Global Perspectives on Societies.” The symposium enjoyed the participation of NYU Shanghai’s postdoctoral and doctoral fellows, recent alumni, and faculty affiliates as panel chairs, who together engaged in studies of inter-Asian and global connections from multidisciplinary angles.

Through new partnerships with the Royal Asiatic Society China and with China Crossroads, the Center also broadened the form and scope of its outreach. We co-hosted three public talks with these two Shanghai-based learned societies in the spring semester of 2021 and are looking forward to future collaboration in respect of event organization and academic publication. In witnessing the Center’s development, our fellows (Alice Lin, Vidhya Raveendranathan, Shujing Wang) and administrative team (Minghui Li, Haozhe Li, Meizhen Zhu) contributed their teamwork and camaraderie, besides pursuing individual research projects and fulfilling regular administrative duties. The Center also continued to offer training through internships and assistantships to numerous students both within and outside the NYU network.

In June 2021, the Henry Luce Foundation renewed its research grant to New York University for three additional years. This grant of USD 450,000, distributed equally among the Global Asia programs in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai, will aid us in advancing our collaborative projects on Port Cities Environments in Global Asia in exciting, innovative ways. These projects, especially research related to the Belt and Road Initiative, will be further supported in part by the NYU Shanghai Boost Fund, worth RMB 400,000.  

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