July 16, 2016

Cornell Program Draws Students Across Asia to Study Humanities in Shanghai

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Students from over 40 Asian universities will travel to Shanghai this weekend to attend Cornell’s new and collaborative humanities program, according to a University press release.

The program, “Visual Culture, Media Theory, Arts Practice,” is the inaugural session of East China Normal University and Cornell’s Summer School in Theory (ECSST), the release said.

Through daily seminars and visits to Shanghai museums, the program will explore contemporary international debates in areas including media studies, philosophy and art, according to Prof. Amy Villarejo, performing and media studies.

“Using the great resources of the city of Shanghai, we’ll be able to focus our discussions of urbanism and aesthetics through shared experiences of art,” Villarejo said.

Two thousand humanities and arts faculty from across Asia vied for the 50 available positions in the session, according to Prof. Tim Murray, comparative literature and English, who will co-conduct ECSST with Villarejo.

Villarejo described the program as the culmination of many years of work with ECNU.

“ECNU has been a fantastic partner under their academic leadership, and we have already sponsored a number of conferences and mini-seminars together,” she said.

Cornell and ECNU’s collaboration began with President Emeritus David Skorton and former Provost Carolyn Martin’s visit to Shanghai, when many Chinese universities and foreign faculty expressed interest in collaboration, according to Villarejo.

However, this weekend’s seminar is a new venture. Villarejo described the program as inspired by the School of Criticism and Theory, which takes place each summer at Cornell and at which she and Murray have both taught.

The event is co-sponsored by Cornell’s Society for the Humanities and ECNU, and will be co-hosted by ECNU and Cornell’s Center for Comparative Humanities, according to the University.