FY21 Project Summaries

Business, Economics, Law, & Policy

Booth Asia Marketing Conference

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Katie Claussen Bell, Director, Kilts Center for Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Pradeep Chintagunta, Joseph T. and Bernice S. Lewis Distinguished Service Professor of Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Jean-Pierre Dubé, Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor of Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Sanjog Misra, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business
  • Jae Hyen Chung, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School
  • Luxi Shen, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Chinese University of Hong Kong Business School

Given the growing influence of Asia in the global landscape, understanding consumer behavior in Asia is increasingly important. As thought leaders on these topics, Booth and CUHK faculty have come together to host a conference that convenes academics from Chicago Booth as well as faculty and PhD students from top-tier business school programs in China, Korea, Hong Kong, India, and Singapore to share current marketing and consumer decision-making research. Furthermore, attendees will explore possible collaborations that will contribute to a more robust global understanding of marketing and consumer behavior.

The goal of this conference is for scholars to develop a deeper understanding of marketing, economics, and consumer behavior lobally. The event will facilitate interactions among top academics and will present an opportunity for in-depth intellectual exchange that will contribute a more robust global understanding of marketing and consumer behavior.


Culture, Society, Religion, & the Arts

The Rise of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia and Greater China in the 1990s

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Mark Philip Bradley, Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor, Department of History, The University of Chicago
  • Pauline Yao, Lead Curator of Visual Art, M+ Museum

This project will convene a workshop in collaboration with M+, the Hong Kong-based museum of visual culture opening in 2021 that will house the largest collection of modern and contemporary Asian art in the world, to build toward defining histories of contemporary art in the 1990s in Southeast Asia and Greater China. The unusual pairing of these two regions—one comfortably inhabiting the designation of global South and one less so—is intentional. Both included artists, as well as curators, who sought to redefine notions of what it means to be modern or contemporary outside the boundaries of Western perspectives. Making sense of the transformative moment of the 1990s for contemporary Asian art requires sustained conversation between curators, scholars and practitioners with local expertise in and across these diverse regions. 

The workshop will gather together key players for a three day event in 2021 to be held at the Yuen Campus in Hong Kong and M+ to explore, through discussion of pre-circulated think pieces, the central dynamics and themes that should inform a history of contemporary art in 1990s in these two locales. The workshop will form a potential bridge to a more ambitious set of collaborative undertakings with M+ that could include a future small temporary exhibition of Southeast Asian art from the 1990s at the Hong Kong Center, or an exhibition at M+ looking at 1990s art across Asia, and a volume emerging out of the workshop and/or exhibitions.

Gaming Worlds via Alternate Realities: Workshop and Multi-Site Game Project

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Patrick Jagoda, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, The University of Chicago
  • Kristen Schilt, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, The University of Chicago
  • Heidi Coleman, Senior Lecturer, Committee on Theater and Performance Studies, The University of Chicago

Hong Kong is a particularly vibrant location for games, especially following China’s 2014 lifting of its long-standing ban on the manufacture and sale of video game consoles. Subsequently, major game developer studios have opened in Hong Kong. This includes Riot Games, developers of League of Legends, a popular multiplayer game that has dominated the realm of high-level competitive gaming known as eSports. Thus, it is an exciting time for games in Hong Kong. 

Hong Kong is also home to several world-class game studies programs, including one housed at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design, and the School of Creative Media at the City University of Hong Kong. The proposed workshop offers a welcome opportunity to partner with both of these institutions. This project will create an interactive event through the use of alternate reality games (ARGs) in order to engage with serious intersecting topics in Chicago and Hong Kong, as well as among other sites in the region. In addition to this practice-based research workshop about ARGs, time will also be spent exploring the possibility of a multi-site ARG conducted across UChicago’s global centers, using Hong Kong as the prototype.

Crafting Culture: Porcelain in Jingdezhen and Hong Kong

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Laura Letinsky, Professor, Department of Visual Arts, The University of Chicago

Unrivaled for its longstanding and far-reaching influence, Jingdezhen, China is the foremost region for porcelain and other ceramics production. Sited in an area rich in minerals specific to porcelain, as early as the sixth century CE, this region developed a highly sophisticated ceramic and porcelain industry that, because of its adjacency to two major rivers, extended its influence and goods across Japan, Persia, Eur-Asia, and, more recently, the Americas. It is home to several Chinese institutes specializing in advanced ceramics training and production. Tangentially, Hong Kong has developed as a vibrant gateway, its markets providing a vehicle for aesthetic and intellectual dialogue between artists and producers. The city is home to innovative technologies bridging traditional crafts and contemporary art. Indeed, this distinction of craft and art is highly pertinent in today’s artistic and intellectual communities through a reevaluation of the importance of knowledge as integral to the body as to the brain.

The PI will visit the prestigious and unique facilities in Jingdezhen to determine opportunities for future collaboration, considering the possibilities for a future exchange with our University and contemporary porcelain artists/designers. Alongside this research, the PI will meet with porcelain artist-designers working in Hong Kong to build a fuller understanding of porcelain and ceramics production, from the physical and artistic, to the conceptual and commercial.

Population Movements, Language Contact in East and Southeast Asia, and Evolutionary Linguistics

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Salikoko Mufwene, Frank J. McLoraine Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Linguistics, The University of Chicago

Evolutionary linguistics is concerned not only with the protracted emergence of languages in mankind, spanning over hundreds of millennia until Homo sapiens 300 to 80 thousand years ago, but also with changes undergone by languages since then. These include structural changes, language speciation, and language endangerment and loss. The latter is a growing concern of modern linguistics today, by analogy to environmentalists’ concern with endangered species. In this context, several sweeping extrapolations have been stated about China, with the spread of Mandarin, that need to be verified. In its modern practice, evolutionary linguistics is grounded in the social ecology of the relevant speakers, including socioeconomic/population structures and political pressures, beyond the shared prerequisites of uniquely human mental capacity and buccopharyngeal structure and hand shapes that enabled the phylogenetic emergence of language 300 to 80 thousand years ago.

The purpose of this project is to assess the extent to which layers of population movements and language contacts in East and Southeast Asia can account for the specificities of language evolution in the region. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the PIs will convene experts on language contact and genetic linguists working on language diffusion and contraction in East and Southeast Asia to better understand how languages in the region have evolved and determine how current theories on differential language evolution can be improved.

Past, Present, and Future Pasts

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Sarah Newman, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
  • Felipe Rojas, Associate Professor, Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University
  • Jeffrey Moser, Assistant Professor, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Brown University

Long before there were archaeologists, there were people who knew how to interpret physical traces of the past. Those traces have always been in flux, subject to changing cultural, environmental, and technological factors. Also transient is how people have attempted to probe such remains to learn about remote times. Carved stones, human and animal bones, and architectural ruins have long incited reflections about the beings who left them behind, but there have also been communities who have thought that smells, flowers, and dreams are authoritative indices of antiquity. It is only recently that absolute dates were obtained from charcoal, residues of ancient recipes were recovered from pottery vessels, and DNA was reconstructed from dental plaque. 

Past, Present, and Future Pasts will gather archaeologists, anthropologists, art historians, and philosophers to tackle three questions: What is or has been a trace of the past? How has the past been accessed through such traces? and What kinds of pasts are made possible by those specific traces and approaches? The proposed workshop coincides with “Excavating China’s First Archaeologist”, a major exhibition at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Museum (Spring 2021). The exhibition showcases artifacts recovered from the grave of Lü Dalin (1040-1093), the author of Illustrated Investigations of Antiquities and a key figure in the history of Chinese archaeology. Together, the exhibition and workshop highlight the long and diverse history of knowledge—and ways of knowing—about the past in medieval China and beyond.

Transnational Literary Imaginaries: Underworld Lit

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • Srikanth Reddy, Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, The University of Chicago

Asian American poetry has produced new literary forms that seek to address the experience of migration and cultural difference in contemporary Anglophone writing. At the same time, the integration of literary arts into the Humanities curriculum has contributed to a widespread academicization of poetry in the United States and abroad. What does a poet of South Asian descent working at an American research university have to say about the imagined communities that we construct and traverse in an increasingly globalizing world? In this event, Creative Writing faculty member Srikanth Reddy will read from his new book of poetry, Underworld Lit, and discuss today’s transnational literary imaginary at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival.

Underworld Lit is a book-length poem, cast in the form of lecture notes for an imaginary course in the Humanities. Written with the support of the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA, and the Creative Capital Foundation, this hybrid work combines academic satire, a survivor’s memoir, translations from obscure works of world literature and a Borgesian journey through the underworlds of various cultures. Accompanied by a class full of skeptical students, the poem’s protagonist undertakes to scale the Tower of Babel that is world literature, only to learn that learning itself may count for precious little in the final reckoning. “Contrary to the accounts of Mu Lian, Odysseus and Kwasi Benefo,” this speaker discovers, “it is not customarily permitted to visit the underworld. No, the underworld visits you.”


Science, Energy, Medicine, and Public Health

Medical and Surgical Decisions in Critically Ill Patients: Cross-Cultural Perspectives

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Peter Angelos, Linda Kohler Anderson Professor, Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago
  • Mark Siegler, Lindy Bergman Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago
  • J. Michael Millis, Professor, Department of Surgery, The University of Chicago

From the historical beginning of medicine through the mid-twentieth century, when faced with a critically ill patient, physicians asked, “What can be done for this patient?” In recent years, this central question has changed. Now physicians are increasingly faced with the question, “What should we do for this patient?” This shift is critical to how decisions are made for critically ill patients. In order to answer “what should be done?” physicians must consider many other aspects of the patient’s condition. The values of the patient or the patient’s family are important. The economic implications of the proposed medical interventions to the patient/family and possibly to society may play a role. The values of the treating physicians may also shift the decisions that are made. Exactly how such decisions are made for critically ill patients varies depending on whether this is a newborn infant or an elderly patient with multiple comorbidities. 

This project proposes to explore how decisions are made for such patients who are at the limits of what medicine or surgery can offer in different cultures by convening conferences in Beijing and Hong Kong. By involving physicians, ethicists, and philosophers from the US, China, and Hong Kong, the PIs intend to highlight similarities and differences in how such decisions are made and who makes the decisions. The goal of the conferences will be a deeper awareness of the complexity of these decisions and how culture impacts the decisions that are made.

Understanding Burden of End-of-Life Care through Verbatim Theater

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Jonathan Lio, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago
  • Harry Wu, Assistant Professor, Department of Medical Ethics and Humanities, The University of Hong Kong
  • Bryan Li, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong

There is a great need for palliative medicine in the 21st century. Despite our advances in technology, our ability to provide comfort and alleviate distress at the end of life has not increased in step – indeed, as the practice of medicine has increasingly shifted to an approach to the patient as a biomedical being, the ailing human being is increasingly ignored. As Bernard Lown, Nobel peace prize winner and renowned cardiologist noted, “Science contributes to abandoning healing”. Efforts to humanize patient care are needed to counteract these prevailing technocratic forces. The burden of care for these end-of-life patients falls not only to health care workers, but primarily to families and caregivers of the patients. As the number of elderly in Hong Kong rise, so will the burden on their families and caregivers, which can manifest in a myriad of ways, including anxiety, fatigue, deteriorating relationships, and social isolation. There is often a lack of understanding of the difficulties that caregivers face which further contributes to their unmet needs.

The purpose of this 1-day event is to create a sharing platform of knowledge and emotions of caregivers of end-of-life patients through verbatim theater, which uses their narratives exploring their burden of care and coping strategies, leading to an example of compassionate community practice in Hong Kong and beyond.

International Summit on Interventional Pharmacoeconomics

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Mark Ratain, Leon O. Jacobson Professor, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago
  • Herbert Loong, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Oncology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Daniel Goldstein, Senior Physician and Senior Lecturer, Department of Medical Oncology, Rabin Medical Center, Tel Aviv University

Interventional pharmacoeconomics is a new interdisciplinary field, encompassing clinical medicine, pharmacology, economics, law, and public policy. The goal of this field is to reduce prescribing costs by identifying alternative dosing strategies of drugs that maintain therapeutic efficacy. The interventions aim to reduce expenditures for payers, and also benefit patients through reduced out-of-pocket costs and – for some drugs – less toxicity or patient inconvenience (in regard to fewer treatments for intravenous medications). These interventions are initially focused on oncology and hematology, but have the potential to span the whole of healthcare. There is also the potential in the future to move to personalized dosing strategies. The PIs propose to organize the second international meeting series in the form of a 3-day international conference held on the UChicago Yuen Campus in Hong Kong to exchange and present the latest findings in interventional pharmacoeconomics.

Empowering Patient/Family Centered Care Communication in the Setting of Serious Illness in Hong Kong

Key Faculty & Collaborators:

  • (PI) Shellie Williams, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago
  • Jonathan Lio, Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases and Global Health, Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago

China currently has a population of 1.4 billion elderly individuals, with this segment expected to grow from 17% to 35% in the next 30 years. Serious illness and end-of-life (EOL) care become increasingly common in an aging society and often requires new approaches to care that morph from the focus of disease to whole-person focused, such as in palliative medical care. However, in Hong Kong with the population experiencing limited connections with the health system other than during hospitalizations, many individuals may not have regular opportunities to establish lasting primary care provider (PCP) relationships and primary care interactions to establish values based EOL care plans and community-based management of serious illness symptoms. This project focuses on targeting those patients/families living with serious illness to discuss vehicles for outlining their advance care wishes and discussing myths and realities of palliative care and how it could provide assistance in assuring the receipt of their wishes.

The proposed symposium will be open to individuals and families living with serious illness in Hong Kong, during which they will engage in activities focused around creating values-based advance care plans and understanding palliative medicine as a trusted community resource.