In 2015, the William and Mary Confucius Institute has launched a brand new scholarly program entitled “Distinguished Scholar Lecture Series.” In addition to our existing Chinese Lecture Series, each year we work with W&M faculty to invite one eminent and nationally acclaimed expert in various fields of Chinese Studies to campus to interact with faculty, staff and students.
On March 30, 2017, Professor Barry Naughton, gave a lecture entitled "Is China Socialist?" His lecture centered on the interaction between the Chinese government and the Chinese economy, and how the first uses the second to achieve desired outcomes. In the lecture, Professor Naughton first explained what characteristics are present in a socialist government, including ideas such as capacity to change the economy and having goals it is working towards, followed by the reality that China is currently somewhere between socialism and capitalism, and what that means for China and the worldwide economy.
At his Distinguished Scholar Lecture on April 11th, 2016, Professor Ban Wang of Stanford discussed the tension between individual and collective love and passion versus the idealism, community, and hardships found in China when the films were made. Wang emphasized the narrow difference between passion and love—one is fiery and full of emotion, the other intentional and communicated—that is represented in Chinese cinema. The two are opposites, but intrinsically linked, and often work together to ignite relationships in Chinese cinema. The brief scenes from the films he showed reflected the insights Wang provided about cultural values of love during the 30s- 60s in China.
For our inaugural Distinguished Scholar Lecture on April 6th, 2015, Dr. Elizabeth Perry from Harvard University was invited to give an insightful lecture entitled “Reforming Chinese Higher Education: A New Great Leap Forward?” In her speech, she addressed the series of important higher education reforms that have taken place in China in the Post-Mao era, from the restoration of meritocratic entrance exams in 1977 to the launch of Project 985 more than twenty years later. The resulting increase in college enrollment, investment of state funding, and internationalization of personnel and programs, reflect the goal of raising Chinese universities in the global rankings.