CCS Scholars Forum - Live via Zoom

Presented by Sherry Wu, Hu Liangyu, and Mai Huijun

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The CCS Scholars Forum is a new series that aims to bring together scholars on campus working on disparate aspects of Chinese studies in order to facilitate greater dialogue and collaboration. Each speaker will deliver a short and accessible presentation, introducing a current research project; followed by a general discussion. Each forum will pair scholars at different stages of their careers from different fields. These forums are envisioned as a means to strengthen ties within our Chinese Studies community at UCLA. Students and faculty with an interest in China are strongly encouraged to attend.

For our second forum, we will have Sherry Wu, Hu Liangyu, and Mai Huijun share with us their current works. We will be live-streaming the forum via Zoom.

Recorded video can be viewed HERE


Sherry Wu, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Having a Voice in Your Group: Field Experiments on Behavioral and Attitudinal Changes

One of the founding assumptions of social psychology is that groups influence human behavior—in particular, that an attempt to change a person’s behavior will fail in the long run if it does not involve her group. There has been enormous research interest in how groups motivate behavior change, but debates exist about the types of group structures that motivate change, and causal evidence with real world groups is rare. I conduct two field experiments in different contexts and with different populations to test the influence of increasing the participatory nature of groups over long-term behavior and attitudes. Study 1 experiments with 65 work group (1,792 workers) in a multinational factory in China. Study 2 experiments with 32 staff groups (172 workers) in an elite university in the US. In each experiment, half of the groups were randomly assigned to a 20-minute participatory meeting once per week for six weeks, in which workers were invited to speak and supervisors mandated to listen. The other half of the groups continued with status quo meetings. Participatory meetings led to a 10.6% increase in treatment factory workers’ productivity, which endured for 9 weeks after the experiment. I found that the frequency of voice within the group, rather than information or goals, drove the behavioral change. The treatment also led workers to be less authoritarian and more critical about societal authority and justice, and more willing to participate in political, social, and familial decision-making. Results in study 2 replicated such findings. This research highlights the power of participatory group dynamics in changing behavior and generalized attitudes across very different contexts, both for theoretical understanding and pragmatic intervention in behavioral and attitudinal change toward social institutions and hierarchy.

Sherry Jueyu Wu is an assistant professor in Anderson School of Management of UCLA. Her research is concerned with: 1) group influence over long-lasting behavioral changes, and 2) decision processes under resource disparity and social inequality. Sherry received her Ph.D. in Psychology with a doctoral joint degree in Social Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in 2019, and B.A. in psychology and economics with the highest honors from University of Virginia in 2013. She is interested in the psychology of culture and social influence. In prior work, she conducted field experiments with groups of Chinese factory workers. She also investigated people’s decisions and perceptions with regard to inequality and hierarchy, and how social influence from nudges and choice architecture shifts behavioral patterns.


Liangyu Hu, Chinese Language and Literature, Peking University

The Third World and the World Imagination of Chinese in Socialist Era (1956-1976)

I will briefly introduce my on-going PhD dissertation. This project aims to examine how, during the socialist period, the world imagination of Chinese and the occurrence of nationalism were profoundly linked to political and cultural interactions with Third World countries. The process of creating “socialist new man” as a new historical subject shall be viewed in the context of global history, whereas the non-Western factors of this process, which were closely linked to the Non-Aligned movement, decolonization, and anti-imperialism movement in Asian, African and Latin American States have long been unexamined. The tension between the internationalist dimension contained in the Chinese socialist revolution and the nation-state as a part of planetary plan of modernity as well as the changing geopolitical landscape of the Cold War, had led to a gradual collapse from a higher political consensus beyond state border into a Chinese national rejuvenation discourse of post-socialist period, along with the disappearance of the third world itself. I attempt to open up the interior layers of this history from the realm of mass culture to initiate a cognitive mapping for the structure of feeling, therefore to ask what sort of alternative historical vision they once offered.

Liangyu Hu is a PhD candidate in Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Peking University. He is now a Visiting Graduate Researcher (VGR) in Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA. His research interests include cultural studies, film studies, and the Third Worldism.


Huijun Mai, UCLA Asian Languages and Cultures (July 2020)

Tasting Poetry

This talk centers on how the sensory experience of “flavor” (wei 味) emerged from Song (960—1279) gastronomic writings and evolved to become a key term in the period’s intellectual and aesthetic discourse. Song literati engaged metaphors of gustatory experiences on a highly specific level in their discussions of learning, reading, and artistic discernment; but the peculiarity of Song transformation of flavor goes beyond the metaphorical and lies in its emphasis on flavor as a corporeal, material experience. We will look at the unlikely genre of “literary cookbook” that transforms classical texts and literary imagery into recipes, turning intellectual activities of learning into material practices of consuming food. The lexical-gustatory synesthesia points at a style of reading and thinking that is intricately intertwined with the ephemerality and materiality of the everyday.

Huijun Mai is a scholar of pre-modern Chinese literature and culture. Having earned a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University this May, she is joining the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at UCLA as an Assistant Professor. As a specialist in Chinese literature of the middle period (220–1600) with a training in material culture and intellectual history, her research adopts an interdisciplinary approach to literary studies. Her current research concerns the rise of material culture in the literary discourse during the eleventh to thirteenth century and how that redefines the boundary of literature.

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Duration: 1:57:54


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Published: Monday, June 1, 2020