A drone shot of the Yuen Campus in Hong Kong

Provost's Global Faculty Awards

2023-24 Hong Kong Recipients

Academic Events

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

PIs: Peter Angelos, J. Michael Millis, Department of Surgery; Micah Prochaska, Department of Medicine

The ethical issues confronting physicians in contemporary medical practice continue to grow. For some challenging clinical situations there are clear standards of care that guides the clinical decisions. However, in ethically challenging situations, there are frequently not clear answers about what is the best way to proceed. We propose to explore these gray areas where the ethically optimal approach is not clear to consider how different cultural assumptions affect the recommendations that clinicians make for their patients. We believe that an international conference to explore these issues in Hong Kong and Beijing will prove to be beneficial for all participants to understand different approaches to ethically challenging clinical situations.

Symposium: Why Marcos Won

PI: Marco Garrido, Department of Sociology
Partner Organization(s): Ateneo de Manila University

We propose organizing a symposium on the question of why Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., son of the late dictator, won the 2022 Philippine presidential election. This question is truly puzzling. The country went from ousting Marcos, Sr., in 1986 to overwhelmingly electing his son 36 years later. Indeed, some of the people who participated in Marcos' ouster supported his son's presidential bid. What happened? Prevailing answers to the question are partisan and inadequate. They point to social media trolls and a disinformation campaign, rampant vote buying on one side, or the election being rigged. The middle and upper classes particularly tend to blame "the masses" for lacking discernment and being misled. We aim to provide better, more sociological and empirically grounded explanations.

The symposium will convene 10-12 social scientists (economists, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists, and historians) who are doing research on the general topic for a day-long discussion at the Ateneo de Manila University in Manila. We plan to invite 9-10 Philippine-based scholars, both from Manila and other regions, and 3-4 international scholars. Scholars will present findings based on empirical research followed by group discussion. The symposium will represent a collaboration (the first of its kind) between the University of Chicago and the historic Institute of Philippine Culture at the Ateneo. Hopefully, it will result in an edited volume (the first on the topic).

Although the symposium is organized around a very specific question, the intellectual interest behind it is much broader. Beyond the question of why Marcos won, we are interested in how Filipinos' experience of democracy is changing. Are we seeing "democratic backsliding" and if so why? Why did many Filipinos support Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody war on drugs? Our sense is that in order to adequately answer these questions, we need a better grasp of how the country has been transformed in the last 40 years both economically and socially. We wish to ground Philippine politics sociologically, and for this we need better frameworks than the outdated ones people still tend to reference (patronage, dynasties, political bosses, etc.). We see the symposium as an opportunity to rethink old frameworks in light of new social conditions (e.g., the rapid growth of a middle class) as well as to advance new frameworks. The question of why Marcos won is but an invitation to engage in this deeper discussion.

Because we are proposing a symposium rather than a research project proper, we chose to describe the project plainly and without scholarly citations. The UChicago project leader has written extensively on democratic backsliding in the Philippines, however. For a rationale embedded in the scholarship, please see the academic article attached. The desire for the symposium grows out of this research and the conviction that we know very little about how ordinary people understand democracy and what they want from it.

Public Events

Book Launch "International Study of Divergent Organ Donation Models"

PI: J. Michael Millis, Department of Surgery
Partner Organization(s): Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, City University of Hong Kong

In this funding we anticipate launching a book that 4 countries participated in preparing chapters ( 3 chapters from each country), US ( Chicago), Hong Kong, China, and Iran. Each have different incentive models to help facilitate organ donation. Hong Kong is the laggard in terms of donors/million and the ultimate goal is to help the Hong Kong government develop an ethical system that will work in their cultural, political and social environment. Thus a roll out of the book with selected publicity will be important for both the government and society to understand the various models and help establish a successful model in Hong Kong.

Research Projects

A Chicago-Vietnam Collaboration to Develop Predictive Models for Aortic Dissections

PI: Nhung Nguyen, Department of Surgery
Partner Organization(s): Duy Tan University

This proposal aims to develop a new international collaboration between UChicago and Duy Tan Research Institute for Computational Engineering (DTRICE), a rising institution in Vietnam. Our purpose is to establish and maintain strong collaborative efforts in which students and scientists at both institutions effectively conduct research and related scientific activities together to enhance the impact of scientific involvements and profile for Vietnam while benefit the UChicago biomechanics research with the computational engineering expertise of DTRICE. The project focuses on developing a high-fidelity and physics-based computational fracture framework to study aortic dissections. This is a serious disease where the occurrence of a tear in the aortic wall, which is under blood pressure, leads to a split between aortic layers and the creation of a false lumen where blood can enter and complicate the aorta’s stability. To understand this dissection process, fracture mechanics and computational models are necessary. In this project, the project leaders and their teams will: (1) develop phase-field modeling approach to study fracture in soft tissue systems subjected to large deformation; (2) simulate the dissection process in aortic layers using advanced damage models and finite element method; and (3) couple fluid-structure interactions to study the development of the realistic aortic dissections.

Early Childhood Development in Thailand

PI: James Heckman, Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics
Partner Organization(s): University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce

This proposal seeks to activate a partnership between the Center for the Economics of Human Development (CEHD; UChicago) and the Research Institute for Policy Evaluation and Design (RIPED; Thailand). Funding from a Provost's Global Faculty Award enables us to build a research collaboration that supports cutting-edge research on programs that promote early childhood development, by working with local experts and culturally-informed research capacity at RIPED regarding a recently launched intervention in Thailand. The RCT launched in December 2022 and includes a treatment that compares a cash transfer, or home visiting (community health workers implementing an evidence-based home visiting program (Reach Up) to support early childhood development and health).

CEHD’s research uses dynamic analytical frameworks to analyze the growth of outcomes such as health and child development, controlling for family and environmental conditions. This joint research will expand an evidence base on the mechanisms that promote early childhood development. Funding is sought to support travel, data coding and analysis, and knowledge sharing through workshops and hosted visits.

Elite Craft Production and Human Sacrifices at the Last Shang Capital: Exploring the Shang King’s Crafts via the IHP Anyang Collection

PIs: Yung-ti Li, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations; Maanasa Raghavan, Department of Human Genetics
Partner Organization(s): Academia Sinica

The proposed project intends to breathe new life into the near-century-old Anyang archaeological data at the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan, via a bifurcated and multidisciplinary approach that includes archaeology (Li, EALC) and the study of ancient DNA (Raghavan, Human Genetics). The archaeology component of the project consists of indoor lab work at IHP by examining and studying the actual artifacts and fieldnotes from the excavations at Daliankeng located in the Xiaotun temple-palace complex in order to produce the full-length site report. The ancient DNA component intends to examine the collection of 400 human skulls from sacrificial contexts found at the Xibeigang royal cemetery.

On Time: Contemporary Video Art from China

PIs: Ellen Larson, Wu Hung, Department of Art History

My proposed research project focuses on collecting research materials and primary documents related to my ongoing book project On Time: Contemporary Video Art from China. The book will be the first of its kind to trace the history of video, an under-examined but pivotal medium in Chinese art from its origins in 1988 to the present. On Time takes a regional approach in its survey of the history of Chinese video art. While visual artists in many parts of the world have turned to video as their major medium during the past three decades, distinctive forms of video have developed in China, where it became an important tendency within the burgeoning of contemporary art in that country. My research thesis centers upon the development of video and other forms of moving image art from China shaped by ongoing socio-economic development and urban transformation since the establishment of the PRC in 1949 through the present. In addition to describing the history of video art efforts over the past three decades, my project also places emphasis on a new generation of video artists from China whose work and engagement with temporalities is deeply entangled with place-based particularities, new networks of connection, and profound globalizing ecological changes.

Training Initiatives

Conference on Socioeconomic Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility & Summer School on Socioeconomic Opportunity and Inequality

PIs: Steven Durlauf, Harris School of Public Policy
Partner Organization(s): Seoul National University, Indiana University Bloomington

The University of Chicago Stone Center for Research on Wealth Inequality and Mobility and Seoul National University Institute for Economic Research have partnered to launch an annual week-long academic program to generate new research on socioeconomic inequality and mobility. This project is spearheaded by Steven Durlauf, (University of Chicago), Dae-il Kim (Seoul National University), and Yoosoon Chang (Indiana University Bloomington). The program initiates with the Conference on Socioeconomic Inequality and Intergenerational Mobility, where leading scholars will discuss theoretical, econometric, and empirical questions on inequality through a multidisciplinary lens and tackle fundamental methodological issues in measuring inequality between nations in different stages of development. The program closes with a pedagogical component for Ph.D.-level emerging scholars, the Summer School on Socioeconomic Opportunity and Inequality, where students are immersed in lectures and one-on-discussions on state-of-the-art methods for inequality research to create pathways for early career researchers to contribute to inequality research and develop meaningful research relationships. The conferences will advance research on socioeconomic inequality of global academic and policy relevance, and the summer schools will ensure future generations of scholars are dedicated to this important work.

Writing Workshop for Early-Career Scholars of Social Studies of Medicine in East Asia

PI: Zhiying Ma, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice
Partner Organization(s): Keio University, Japan

The interdisciplinary field of social studies of medicine is becoming increasingly globalized, and East Asia has emerged as one of the hubs for research and writing in this genre. However, there still remain barriers for many non-native speakers of English in Asia when trying to publish their research in international journals, and the flow of communication and knowledge remains rather unidirectional, centering on North America and Europe. To overcome these barriers, decolonize knowledge, and help local young scholars cultivate their careers and promote their work at the global level, we propose to conduct a writing workshop led by a team of mid-career scholars and editors in social studies of medicine to be held at the Hong Kong Campus, specifically for early-career scholars (ECS’s) based at institutions in East Asia, and a smaller number of ECS’s based at institutions in the United States who are committed to internationalizing the field.

The workshop consists of small group sessions where participants will receive very focused feedback on papers, as well as full group conversations drawn from the experience and wisdom of mid-career scholars and editors in the field on the ins and outs of scholarly publishing. This workshop provides a precious opportunity for ECS’s in East Asia to meet, network, converse, and share knowledge with peers, mid-career scholars, and editors outside of the region. The resulting cross-pollination can help ECS’s make relevant connections and career development. It will be of benefit to the mid-career scholars and editors as well, as they encounter the next generation of scholars, and have a chance to share ideas with them and with each other. The dynamism of this collective meeting of minds has the potential to initiate a real transformation in the way the publication venues operate by expanding capabilities and connections.