2017 Awards

Conference: Cyberinfrastructure for Historical China Studies 

Peter Bol (Faculty of Arts and Sciences -East Asian Languages and Civilizations) and Donald Sturgeon (Faculty of Arts and Sciences- Fairbank Center An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow)


The proliferation of databases for the study of Chinese history and the increasing numbers of researchers taking part in their development calls for a cyberinfrastructure which can be conceived of as a network of discipline-specific software applications and data collections. In response to the call, Peter Bol (FAS-EALC) and Donald Sturgeon (FAS- Fairbank Center An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow) will organize a conference at the Harvard Shanghai Center to bring research centers, libraries, and public/private text database creators together with scholars and programmers to explore the first level of a cyberinfrastructure for China studies. There will be discussions on how participants in such a cyberinfrastructure for historical China studies can share their resources and how their communication can be facilitated by various technologies and mechanisms.

Conference: 2017 Perspectives on Chinese Contemporary Music Conference – Composition, Theory, and Reception  

Christopher Hasty (Faculty of Arts and Sciences -Music)


With his collaborator in China, Christopher Hasty (FAS-Music) will organize the third conference in a series of four conferences dedicated to the understanding and reception of new music from mainland China. Following the first two conferences held at Harvard in August 2015 and August 2016, the third event will be held at the Harvard Center Shanghai during March 17-18, 2017, and will involve prominent Chinese composers and theorists. One goal of this conference will be to lay the groundwork for collaboration among composers, music theorists, historians of art, and aestheticians, with the goal of publishing a collection of essays within two or three years.

Conference: The Meritocracy Project: China and India  

Michael Szonyi (Faculty of Arts and Sciences -East Asian Languages and Civilizations) and Tarun Khanna (Harvard Business School)


Michael Szonyi (FAS-EALC) and Tarun Khanna (HBS) will jointly organize a conference that sheds light on the relationship between the idea of merit–its conceptualization, measurement, and implementation–and the organization of talent in China and India, as well as how power and influence are allocated in these two countries. Systems of merit in China and India have a long history, and understanding how it impacts contemporary society is a crucial question. Fundamentally, the project aims to understand and perhaps reshape how people in China and India think about talent by evaluating the processes of education, talent identification, and talent promotion in China and India, encouraging new ways of thinking about where to look for talent, and ultimately influencing the public policy debate.

Conference: The Development of Chinese Higher Education Leaders 

James Ryan (Harvard Graduate School of Education) and James Antony (Harvard Graduate School of Education)


James Ryan (HGSE) and James Antony (HGSE) will jointly organize a conference at the Harvard Center Shanghai to discuss the leadership development needs for Chinese higher education, and to begin determining how Harvard might design and deliver ongoing executive education programs to meet those needs. While a rapid growth of the Chinese higher education system has been promoted by Chinese officials who view higher education as an important element in advancing the nation’s strategic priorities, Chinese higher education leaders, many of whom have overseen a system that has been particularly successful at advancing programs in science and engineering, are now realizing the need for broader curricular balance. There are numerous other leadership challenges that Chinese higher education institutions confront presently and this conference will convene a focused group of experts, from both China and the U.S., to discuss addressing challenges for China’s higher education leadership.

Enhancing China’s Financial Systems and Regulatory Efficiency: An Exclusive Conference for PRC Government & Regulatory Official 

Hal Scott (Harvard Law School)


Hal Scott (HLS) and the Program on International Financial Systems (PIFS) will jointly organize a conference to establish an education event designed to increase the regulatory capacity of middle to senior Central Government and Provincial government regulatory officials involved in China’s financial markets. Specifically, the conference will address the growing challenges confronting China’s regulatory and policy makers that arise from China’s economic transition and increasing reliance on market-oriented funding for the real economy. Importantly, this conference proposes to analyze not just regulatory and legislative structures, but also regulatory strategy and response with a view to increasing regulatory efficiency.

Conference: Bringing the Ancient DNA Revolution to Chinese Archaeology 

David Reich (Harvard Medical School)


David Reich (HMS) and his colleagues will hold an international, interdisciplinary conference on using ancient DNA to integrate evidence from genetics and archaeology to obtain a better understanding of the origin of pre-historic populations in China. The conference will include presentations by Chinese scientists on recent progress in China and unsolved problems, as well as by non-Chinese scientists on the topic of “bringing ancient DNA to China.” This conference will create opportunities to carry out ancient DNA research in China and establish a long-term collaborative relationship between Harvard and Chinese archaeologists and geneticists.

Shanghai Conference on Africa and Asia – Africa-Asia Connections: Bridging Past, Present, and Future 


The Shanghai Conference on Africa and Asia conducted a critical conversation about the political and economic development of African and Asian countries since the end of World War II. Conference attendees discussed how historical exchanges of ideas, capital, and people between the two continents shaped their contemporary relations. A better understanding of the convergent and divergent historical trajectories of the two continents served as a basis for the attendees to put forward a series of policy recommendations that might facilitate future exchanges among the two continents for their mutual benefit.

Exhibition: Building Digital Caves

Eugene Wang (Faculty of Arts and Sciences, History of Art and Architecture)


The first Harvard professor of Asian art, Langdon Warner, removed mural fragments form the walls of the Dunhuang caves and brought them back to Harvard with him. With this problematic history, Harvard intends to play a positive role in the future of the caves. In pursuit of this goal, Professor Eugene Wang has partnered with the Dunhuang Academy to build multimedia-simulated Dunhuang caves at Harvard for exhibition. At the conclusion of the exhibition, the media-projected cave will go on a world tour, before returning to China. The design and exhibition will exemplify ways of putting soul into technology, a serious problem faced by China and the world. The exhibit will also address the challenge of how to harness technology to stage the deep strata of human experience and culture.

Workshop: China Brown, Environmental Legacy and Brownfields Regeneration in Contemporary China

Niall Kirkwood (Graduate School of Design)


Brownfields are visually compelling, but stark and forgotten former industrial landscapes, places of devastation, neglect, but ultimately redeemable, and vital in the national vision in the 21st century. They are also currently quite contentious- politically, ecologically, culturally, economically, and aesthetically and therefore one of the most important issues in shaping China’s current and future cities, communities, and landscape. Professor Niall Kirkwood’s proposal aims to hold two workshops to develop, in collaboration with Tsinghua University, a learning platform for brownfield experts and scholars of different disciplines. It is also intended to support design, planning, and engineering technicians to promote the integration of disciplinary methods to create new knowledge and theory. Results from these workshops will also form part of an ongoing graduate seminar at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in AY 17-18.