Past Events: 2017

Quotations and Pictures

6:30–9:00 pm


Quotation (q-)marks (“ … ”) are currently used in two main ways: to quote someone’s utterance or inscription (e.g., “Trump said: ‘Let’s make America great again!’”) and to mention words (e.g., “ ‘Love’ is a four letter word”).  Over the last 50 years there has been an explosion of work by philosophers and linguists on q-marks but almost all of it on their use in mentioning, either ignoring or assimilating quotation to mentioning.  After briefly tracing the disjoint histories of q-marks in the two practices, I concentrate almost entirely on quotation, present its semantic problems, and, drawing on an analogy between pictures and quotations—frequently mentioned but rarely used in the literature—show how quotations are best analyzed using three notions taken from the theory of pictures: exemplification as distinct from representation, the analog as opposed to digital, and transparency.  I then explain what semantic work the q-marks themselves do, and, time permitting, show how we can analyze scare-quotes as the figurative use of q-marks. What emerges is a conception of quotation that locates it on the boundary between linguistic competence proper and the non-linguistic—and in one sense, contextual—symbolic skill of picturing.

International Symposium on Jewish and Chinese Classical Hermeneutics

All day
Through December 20, 2017
Shandong University, Qingdao Campus

Dec. 17

This was the third conference sponsored by the Beijing Center (and as a late-comer, the Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies at UChicago [GCJS]) in collaboration with the Center for Judaic and Inter-religious studies at Shandong University to bring together scholars in Jewish and Chinese Thought to discuss a topic of common interest. The first, a workshop on Maimonides and Medieval Jewish Thought, was held in April 2012 at the Beijing Center and the second, a symposium on Jewish and Confucian Ethics, convened at Shandong University, Jinan, in December 2013. This third conference finally took place this past December 17-20. We want to thank the Beijing Center both for its support and for its encouragement to persist in our efforts to organize the conference. The symposium was indeed a great success, the best of the three conferences, so our efforts were repaid in full.

Tasting Strings 品弦

3:00–5:30 pm


The University of Chicago Center in Beijing exists to promote cultural exchange, or wenhua jiaoliu.  “Wenhua” 文化reminds us that the patterns of our shared lives are always changing, and “jiaoliu” 交流seems to speak of the unconstrained flow of precious things across time and space, linking people together.  Perhaps music is a more perfect expression of cultural exchange than all of our scholarship put together.  Curating this concert, “Tasting Strings,” composer Yao Chen has worked with the flowing together of similarities (plucked and bowed stringed instruments) and the contrasts of differences (Chinese and European instruments, traditional and contemporary compositions).  Listening to these stellar performers explore such rich musical worlds, we are led to relive our own travels through time and space and appreciate anew the deeply meaningful encounters we have experienced.  The Center is grateful to Chen Yao for bringing this musical experience to the Center.  And the University of Chicago is proud to be the Professor Yao’s alma mater.  His brilliant international career has brought credit to the Music Department and Composition program at the University, and his friendship to the Center here in Beijing has been precious.  We hope to sponsor a number of concerts in coming months and years, with the help of Chen Yao and his many exceptional musician friends.

There was a global explosion of interest in human rights in the 1970s.  Americans at the time believed that they were leaders in this initiative.  But Americans did not get there first.  In fact, one might argue they got there last.  Focusing on the rise of new transnational forces that transformed the international order in the late twentieth century, Bradley explains why America lagged behind the rest of the world in the “imagination of human rights.”

UChicago Division of the Social Sciences Information Session

7:00–9:00 pm
University of Chicago Center in Beijing


An information session on the MA and PhD programs in the Division of the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago.

Precision medicine has the potential to transform the future medical practice. For most mental disorders, currently there has been no precise biological tests or effective treatments. Success of precision medicine in psychiatry depends on our understanding of individual genetic makeup, symptoms, cognitive assessment, and environmental exposures. Recent breakthroughs in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and large-scale sequencing projects in psychiatry yield hundreds of genetic risk loci, bringing forth enormous opportunities but also posting challenges for translating genetic findings into accurate disease biology and clinical interventions. A likely paradigm change of psychiatric genetic architecture from polygenic to omnigenic model as well as pleiotropy nature further amplify such challenges. A multidiscipline approach that can integrate data at multiple levels (e.g., genomics, molecular, cellular, physiological, brain imaging and other phenotypes) is highly needed. Moreover, it is also instrumental to embrace novel technologies for data collection (e.g., using mobile platform). This workshop covers a variety of topics related to psychiatry, ranging from smartphone-based omics profiling and phenotype collection in mental disorders, schizophrenia genetics, braining imaging, functional genomics and patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) disease modeling. The main goals of the workshop are: to inform Chinese basic and clinical researchers in mental health about the forefront research approaches and progress on psychiatric genetics, genomics, disease modeling and phenotyping in the context of psychiatric precision medicine; to promote research collaboration and resource sharing between US and Chinese researchers in mental health.

Center in Beijing Call for Proposals 2018-2019

All day
Through December 22, 2017

Oct. 21

The University of Chicago Center in Beijing welcomes proposals for collaborative conferences, workshops, research residencies, projects and other related activities for the 2018-2019 academic year.  Proposals are due December 22, 2017 for projects that plan to take place from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

Knee and shoulder injuries are more common in elite athletes than the general population, and a safe and early return to play places greater demands on the management of such injuries.  This conference will discuss the latest concepts and techniques in knee and shoulder surgery and rehabilitation for the elite athlete.  Both the University of Chicago and Peking University have both been leaders in the field of orthopaedic sports medicine and the treatment of elite athletes.  The co-directors of this conference, Professors Ho and Ao have collaborated to bring the very best and latest of sports medicine to Beijing.  As team physician for the China Women's National Volleyball team, Dr. Ho will use specific examples from experiences treating injured members of the 2016 Olympic gold medal team in Rio de Janeiro.  Head Coach Lang Ping will speak at the conference and offer her insights into the role that sports medicine played in her success over the course of her coaching career.  Dr. Ao is the well-known leader of sports medicine at the prestigious Peking University, will bring his experience with the many elite and Olympic athletes he has treated.  Dr. Shi, originally from Beijing and trained at Harvard University, is now Director of the Research and Shoulder and Elbow consultant for University of Chicago's sports medicine service and teams.  He consults and lectures in China and United States on a regular basis as an expert in shoulder surgery and research.

4th Annual 21st Century Anthropology Forum

All day
Through October 15, 2017

Oct. 14

October 14 and 15 the Center in Beijing welcomed the 4th Annual 21st Century Anthropology Forum.  The Forum was organized by the Renmin University of China Institute for Anthropological Research and the Renmin University National Development and Strategy Research Institute.  

The University of Chicago Division of the Humanities cordially invites you to an information session about the Master of Arts Program in the Humanities (MAPH) presented by our newly appointed Dean, Anne Walters Robertson. Dean Robertson will be joined via Skype by Dr. Hilary Strang, MAPH's Deputy Director, to present an overview of the program and the admission process.

The Liver, Microbiome, and Academic Skills Workshop

All day
Through September 9, 2017

Sep. 8

"The Liver, Microbiome, and Academic Skills Workshop" was successfully held on September 8th-9th 2017, at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing.  More than 50 audiences including doctors, students and researchers attended this conference and had heated discussions with speakers.  This conference was co-organized by Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition (HBSN), AME Publishing Company, University of Chicago Global Surgery, University of Chicago Department of Surgery and University of Chicago Center in Beijing.  The workshop assembled the world’s experts in the microbiome, who focus their effort on various liver disease.  Active clinical researchers presented on the new paradigms for treating both hepatocellular and cholangio carcinomas.  Finally, with the academic writing session, they provided a better understanding of the manuscript process, with a focus on the impact of unethical behavior.


Greater China Forum

All day
Through September 3, 2017
Kerry Hotel, Beijing

Sep. 2

Hosted by the Chicago Booth Alumni Club of China

Aug. 18

The Fifth International Conference on Ancient Tomb Art was successfully held on August 18th-20th 2017, at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. More than 220 audiences including researchers and people who are quite interested in tomb art attended this conference and had heated discussions with speakers. This conference was organized by Center for the Art of East Asia, University of Chicago, School of the Humanities, Central Academy of Fine Arts and Center for Visual Studies, Peking University, co-organized by Hunan Fine Arts Publishing House. It is the fifth in a sequence of conferences held biennially on the art of tombs, the longest and most deeply rooted ritual art tradition in pre-modern China. This is a vital and growing field of study both in the sense of the increasing materials available from archeological activity and in the multi-disciplinary scholarship that it has inspired.

On July 20th, Kyle Chan, a UChicago alum and current PhD student in sociology at Princeton University, presented findings from his ongoing dissertation project on China's high-speed rail program. 

The 7th Chinese Political Sociology Workshop

All day
Through July 21, 2017

Jul. 19

This year is the 7th year of the Chinese Political Sociology Workshop, a 3-day event co-organized by The University of Chicago Center in Beijing and the Department of Sociology at Renmin University of China. The topic this year--Ideas, Identities, and Ideology-- drew more than 160 scholars and students, international and local, to join the rigorous discussion.

The workshop was structured around 6 subtopics that included “Ideology and State”, “Ideology and Political Order”, “Ideology and Governance”, “Identities and Ideologies”, “Communism in Practice” and “Ethnicity, Nation and Nationalism”. Besides scholars from several local universities, the workshop also featured professors from London School of Economics, Columbia University and Universidad Carlos III De Madrid.

“500 Brushstrokes fuses painting, papercut, and collage into a new form of two-dimensional art. The artist first draws random strokes on xuan paper with ink and traditional paint. He then cuts out every brushstroke and uses them to construct new compositions. Inspired by Han dynasty bronze “money trees,” Daydream Forest constructs mesmerizing 3-D structures with 2-D images of fantastic beasts.
Both sets of works derive their concepts from the art of folk papercuts but transform them into the language of contemporary art. Full of movement and dynamism, Wu Jian’an’s art merges concrete and abstract forms to generate infinite transformations.”
——Wu Hung

Last Wednesday, The University of Chicago Center in Beijing welcomed the Dean of Admissions James Nondorf to share his insights on the highly selective admissions process. Dean Nondorf explained the holistic review process as well as the different application components.

This seminar seeks to trace the multiple trajectories of ekphrastic/descriptive acts. The morning session introduces the twin concept of “verbal” and “visual” ekphrasis through an exposition of the ancient rhetorical and literary practice of ekphrasis and a discussion of tableau vivants as a distinct genre that extends from Romanticism to contemporary art. The afternoon session moves on to examine three cases of descriptive practice in modern art history, considered here as concrete samples collected from three specific contexts in which art-historical knowledge is produced. These are: the writing of descriptive entries in iconographic catalogue of Han pictorial carvings, Daniel Arasse’s writings (at times dubbed by himself as “descriptions”, thus invoking an age-old tradition) that bridge academic and public understandings of art, and the historical narrative and descriptive language employed in curatorial practices of Chinese contemporary art. By examining the three cases, we could hopefully arrive at a self-reflexive understanding of the academic and social “regimes of descriptions”, of the distinctive agency that descriptive texts and describing subjects possess in the active shaping of knowledge and visual experience, and lastly, of the resistance and pressure posed upon language by the sensuous autonomy and material presence of objects themselves.

A group of internationally renowned scholars and researchers gathered in Beijing on June 3, 2017 at the International Symposium on Rethinking the Economic Role of the State, co-organized by the Center for New Structural Economics at Peking University and Man and the Economy, with the collaboration of the University of Chicago Center in Beijing.

2017 Oriental Inflammatory Bowel Disease Forum

All day
Through May 28, 2017
Pullman Shanghai South Hotel

May. 26

Attended by 250 top Chinese experts in IBD, the forum was a collaborative effort between University of Chicago Center in Beijing, Beijing Medical Award Foundation, Department of Gastroenterology of Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai Institute of Digestive Diseases and Shanghai Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Center.

On May 24, the Center sponsored a one-day workshop called  “Writing the Real in China: Conversations with Writers.”  Organized with the help of a journalist who writes as Dan Bao for the online magazine Noon Story, the conference brought five of China’s most prominent realist fiction writers to the Center to share their work.  Cao Naiqian (from Shanxi), Zhang Yueran (Beijing), Shuang Xuetao (Liaoning), Ren Xiaowen (Shanghai), and Liu Liduo (Beijing) read from their writing and talked about dilemmas that arise for writers in today’s China.  Scholars from the University of Chicago, Peking University, Renmin University, and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences joined the writers in a roundtable that explored the aesthetics, ethics, and social value of diverse approaches to depicting contemporary life.  A thoroughly engaged audience of more than 150 added their questions to those raised by the writers and scholars: How does fiction writing seek a deeper, truer level of realism? Is simple description more ethical than narrative fabulation?  How should language be twisted to deliver surprises to readers?  Should realist writing be enjoyable or difficult?  The day was so rewarding that we are beginning to plan a series of smaller and more focused writing workshops to begin in the Fall at the Center.  

For aspiring collectors in early modern China, the meaning, the authenticity and the very existence of whole categories of material artifacts was contingent on a skein of relationships between textual and material realities. Through a case study of the bronze censers attributed to the early-Ming court of Xuande (1425–36), as they were perceived by collectors from the mid-sixteenth century onward, this paper examines the co-creation of object and text. It finds that the changing historical imagination and the technical complexities of industrial production interact in explaining and obscuring novelty, in bridging the marketable and the ineffable, and in making present a desirable past.

Ethical vocabularies objectify self-awareness, social interaction and people’s effects on one another.  Terms take on meaning within larger constellations of ethical and psychological concepts, practices and institutions.  Objectifications facilitate reflexivity, which in turn gives ethical life a public history.  Explicit concepts are more subject to criticism than tacit intuitions and habits so they enter into the domain of politics and history.  Tracing the emergence of such concepts, this talk examines some ethical reform movements to develop the idea of first, second and third person stance.

On April 23, 2017, approximately 60 alumni, students, academics and other friends assembled at the St. Regis Hotel for a talk by Judith Farquhar, Max Palevsky Professor Emerita in Anthropology and Faculty Director of the University of Chicago Center in Beijing.

This seminar starts with the theoretical background of the 19th century in which Riegl’s idea took shape, and gradually moves on to the reflections and critiques on the Rieglian model by scholars both within and beyond the discipline of art history. As an attempt at “rigorous historicization”, the seminar zeroes in on concrete historiographic cases, with the first section devoted to the examination of several key Rieglian concepts and the second section and keynote speech to the discussion of two key members of the New Vienna School (Hans Sedlmayr and Otto Pächt). Meanwhile, the juxtaposition of Hans Sedlmayr and Walter Benjamin in the second section seeks to move beyond facile ideological denigration and critically rethink Vienna School’s postwar “fall from grace”. The cases of Sedlmayr and Benjamin, presented here, allow us to peer through the complex landscape of two divergent politics of scholarship and methods, which before the emergence of ideological and methodological divide, partially met on a dangerous common ground.

From April 5-6, Dr. Mohan S. Gundeti, Professor of Surgery, Pediatrics and Obstetrics/Gynecology and Director of  Pediatric Urology at the University of Chicago Medicine visited Beijing and the Beijing Children's Hospital set up by the Beijing Center. 


Venture capital fund, Anlong Medical Fund, founded by Dr. Chunlin Adam Zhao, MBA'01 met again with CEOs from companies he invested in at the Beijing Center.


Please join us for a conversation with Harris alumnus Andrew Means, MPP'11 on the application of data science and machine learning to social programs in government, nonprofits and philanthropy. Mr. Means is the head of beyond.uptake, the philanthropic and civic innovation arm of Uptake and co-founder at The Impact Lab.

The focus will be on the doctor-patient relationship and how it differs between specialties, surgery, medicine and pediatrics and between the US and China.
This broad topic allows us to look at how doctors and patients make decision for both medical and surgical treatments. We would explore questions such as whether the concept of “shared decision making” has relevance outside of the Anglo-American medical contexts.
We will look at how surrogate decisions are made in different settings such as for neonates as well as for elderly patients.   A Western principle of the Doctor-patient relationship is respecting the autonomous choices of patients. This may differ in different cultures and different settings. Similarly, exploration of ‘presumed consent” for medical emergencies such as CPR or emergency surgery can be addresses. (e.g. in trauma in different cultural settings.)
Using an interactive case based format, in collaboration with our surgical, medical, and bioethics colleagues in Beijing, the specific topics emphasize different approaches to these issues across Western and Chinese cultures.

Jas’ Elsner Launch Lecture Series

Through February 26, 2017

Feb. 25


Speaker: Chen Ping

The Vienna School of Art History: A Cultural Legend at the Fin de siècle
2017.2.25 2:00-5:00pm

The Concept of Kunstwollen: Aloïs Riegl and the Shapes of Art History in the 20th Century
2017.2.26 2:00-5:00pm


2017年2月25日 14:00-17:00

2017年2月26日 14:00-17:00


Venture capital fund, Anlong Medical Fund, founded by Dr. Chunlin Adam Zhao, MBA'01 met with CEOs from companies he invested at the Beijing Center. 

On February 6, Dr. Jun Bao, MBA’99, had an interesting dialogue on business development in biomedicine with Clifford Stocks who also holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business, in front of an enthusiastic audience gathered at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing.