Chinese Lecture Series

  • Pictograms of Chinese Characters and Chinese Painting

March 12th, 2018

Professor Wei Zhen engages in a discussion with lecture attendees

Dr. Wei Zhen, Associate Dean at Beijing Normal University’s School of Arts and Communication and award-winning painter, discussed the cultural significance of ancient Chinese pictograms.  Many scholars believe that Chinese painting and calligraphy come from a common origin.  As such, ancient Chinese pictograms carry their own little depictions of ancient Chinese culture.  Those who attended Professor Zhen's lecture not only learned about these pictograms, but also had the opportunity to write the pictograms themselves!

  • Transpacific Histories of Affect in Media

February 15th, 2018

Lily Wong Lecture

Dr. Lily Wong, Assistant Professor at American University, will give a public lecture on ""Sex Work, Media Networks, and Transpacific Histories of Affect." Based on her new book, Transpacific Attachments, Dr. Lily Wong will discuss the mobility and mobilization of the sex worker figure through transpacific media networks, stressing the intersectional politics of racial, sexual, and class structures. She focuses on the transpacific networks that reconfigure Chineseness, complicating a diasporic framework of cultural authenticity.

  • Chinese Language: It's Past and Present

November 9th, 2017


Hongmin Zhang, Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics at the Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison, introduced knowledge of Chinese language, including its writing system, evolution of the language, dialectal variations, language neighbors, morphology, syntax of the modern standard colloquial language, and historical and philological aspects. In addition, he also offered a linguistics workshop.

  • Lines: The Soul of Chinese Calligraphy

October 19th, 2017


Haiquan Xiong, expert calligrapher, artist, and editor-in-chief of the journal "Art," delivered a lecture on the way lines are used as a form of artistic expression in Chinese calligraphy.  The lecture was translated by the Confucius Institute Chinese Director, Professor Deliang Wang.  Xiong also gave live demonstrations in calligraphy for the audience.  The lecture was an informative, interactive learning experience with a unique perspective on Chinese calligraphy.

  • Critical Lyricism in Post-War East Asian Cinema

October 3rd, 2017


Satoru Hashimoto, a professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Maryland, delivered a lecture on critcal lyricism in East Asian Film from the years 1945-1953, immediately following the end of the Second Sino-Japanese War.  He analyzed two films: Fei Mu's Spring in a Small Town (1948) from China, and Yasujirō Ozu's Late Spring (1949) from Japan.  Both films held some commentary about these respective countries' attitudes on how to proceed in the postwar era and were shown to be valuable historical resources about this time period.  

  • Civic Engagement of the Middle Class in China: Survey Findings and Implications

September 25th, 2017


Xinsong Wang, an associate professor at Beijing Normal University's School of Social Development and Public Policy, delivered a lecture on his research regarding recent trends in civic engagement in the Chinese middle class.  He dicussed the rise of volunteer activities in China, indicating that they were part of a larger trend of increased social engagement.  Wang found that there was a positive correlation between socioeconomic class and participation in volunteer activities.  This was supported by Professor Wang's research, which included a survey of over 5,000 Chinese households, which indicated their volunteering habits, income, education, and occupation.

  • The Ancient Art of Scholars' Rocks

July 13th, 2017

A Full House

Kemin Hu, a renowned expert on Scholars' Rocks, delivered a lecture on the philosophy, connoisseurship, and culture surrounding Scholars' Rocks.  The lecture was co-sponsored by WMCI and the Muscarellle Museum of art and was held in conjunction with the exhibition Bones of the Earth: Scholars' Rocks and the Natural World in Chinese Culture, Selections from the Robert Turvine Collection.  Hu emphasized the stones as a key point in philosophers' contemplation in the relationship between man and nature, as well as the various ways Scholars' Rocks have been used throughout history.  

  • Hollywood: Made in China

April 20th, 2017

A photo from Professor Kokas' lecture

Aynne Kokas, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, delivered a lecture on the increasing popularity of foreign films in China and how it is changing the film making process in Hollywood. In her lecture, Professor Kokas emphasized the investments made by American companies to create films that appeal to the Chinese market, especially through global collaborative ventures which bypass the Chinese government's limits on the number of foreign films per year.  

  • Journey to the West: The Many Adventures of China's Monkey King by Professor Robert Hegel

November 3rd, 2016

Hegel Lecture Picture

Dr. Robert E. Hegel, Liselotte Dieckmann Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of Chinese at Washington University, gave a lecture entitled “Journey to the West:  The Many Adventures of China's Monkey King” on Thursday, Nov 3rd. In the lecture Dr. Hegel examined the Monkey King in the sixteenth-century novel Xiyou ji (Journey to the West) and his role in the numerous literary sequels, films, television dramas, video games, and other spin-offs of the novel--each with a slightly different take on the Monkey King’s journey to bring South Asian scriptures back to China.

  • The Unity of Heaven and Humanity in I Ching

September 22nd, 2016


On September 22, 2016 Professor Zhen Liu, an Yijing (I Ching) scholar at China University of Political Science and Law, delivered a lecture entitled "The Unity of Heaven and Humanity" in I Ching in the Reves Room as part of an ongoing lecture series given at universities including the University of Maryland, George Washington University, and Old Dominion University on I Ching philosophy. To watch the pre-lecture interviews by CCTV click here.

  • The Question of Political Order in Classical Confucian Thought by Prof. Loubna El Amine

           March 17th, 2016

Loubna El Amine

On March 17, 2016, Professor Loubna El Amine was invited to campus to host a presentation on Confucian political thought. Professor El Amine teaches in the Department of Government at Georgetown Universtiy, where she is also a faculty fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs, and previously served as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University.

  • "Constructing a National Model Village in Two Chinese Films" by Yu Zhang

       March 2nd, 2016

Yu Zhang

During her visit at W&M, Dr. Zhang gave a talk entitled "Constructing a National Model Village in the Films The Young People in Our Village (1959) and its Sequel (1963),” which examines the playful and artisanal components in the imagination of socialist industrialization in China.

  •   Introduction to Chinese Information Systems by Mr. Jie Liu

            October 5th, 2015

Liu Jie's lecture   

Mr. Jie Liu, Vice President of the Digital China Smart City Group and General Manager of the Smart City Solution Center, gave a presentation to students at the Christopher Newport University on October 5th, 2015 on Chinese Information Systems. Mr. Liu is very experienced in dealing with Chinese information systems. The two organizations he leads focus on product implementation in the IT field and information systems technology. Mr. Liu also talked about the connections the IT field has to financial and medical fields, both of which he has worked with through his job. 

  • Developments in U.S.-China Trade Relations: A Beijing Perspective by Mr. Val Huston

            September 29th, 2015

val huston   val huston 2

Mr. Val Huston is the Principal Commercial Officer for the United States Embassy to Beijing. He has helped U.S. companies find market opportunities and Chinese trading partners; assisted Chinese firms to find investment opportunities in the United States; promoted U.S. education and tourism opportunities; and advocated for U.S. national economic and trade interests. Mr. Val Huston talked to William and Mary students as well as community members about his experiences working in the government, international relations, and economic fields.

  •  Calligraphy Demonstration and Lecture by Prof. Dongwei Zhai

             March 23 & 25, 2015

Dongwei                    Dongwei2

Dongwei Zhai is an artist and professor from the College of Art at Henan Univesity, where he also works as a Senior Researcher with the HENU Sung Dynasty Art Institute and Woodcut Printing Institute. In front of an audience comprised of both students and Williamsburg area residents, Professor Zhai lectured about the relationship between modern art and traditional calligraphy. He discussed how the 'playful' essence of traditional Chinese calligraphy is similar to the self-expression seen in Western modern art.

  • U.S./China Film Symposium 

             April 10-12, 2014   


William and Mary Confucius Institute co-sponsored the U.S.-China Film Symposium with the W&M Global Film Festival. The symposium opened with the screening of Lost In Thailand, a Chinese comedy, followed by  a roundtable discussion, during which featured panelists opened up a conversation about the synergy between China and Hollywood, what movies are produced in each respective location, and how this affects the average moviegoer. The panelists were:

o Leon Xiao, Senior Professor, Beijing Normal University/W&M Confucius Institute Visiting Film Scholar

o Tim Barnard, Visiting Asst. Prof. of Film & Media Studies and Director of the W&M Global Film Festival, W&M

o Mia Liu, Postdoctoral Associate in East Asian Studies, Yale University

Prof. Leon Xiao,  who worked for 20th-Century Fox and numerous Hollywood blockbusters in Los Angeles and New York for over a decade before returning to China, also had a brownbag lunch conversation with some W&M students to share his perspective on special effects and giant screens as well as his experience of working in Hollywood and China.

  • Lecture "The Sun is Not So Central"

             November 7th, 2013


Having grown up in New York before moving to Beijing, American-born Michael Cherney has been living and working in China for twenty years under his Chinese name Qiu Mai (Autumn Wheat). Cherney is a successful photographer, calligrapher and illustrator; he works with the great sophistication that draws on the subtleties of China's most scholarly and esoteric traditions. His works have been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Asian Art and were the first photographic works ever to enter the collection of that department. The lecture, co-sponsored by W&M Confucius Institute and the Department of Art & Art History, presented an overview of his artistic process and recent works. The art combined photography with the subject matter, aesthetics, materials and formats traditionally associated with classical Chinese painting, which allowed for viewing the present day environment and landscape in China through the lens of art history. In addition to the presentation, the artist guided the audience through viewing several handscrolls, albums and other works of his most recent creation.

  • Lecture "Difference Means Art"

             September 19th, 2013


What does ''modern & contemporary'' ink painting mean from the perspective of the history of Chinese painting? Generations of artists have wrestled with the task of modernization of ink painting since the second-half of the nineteenth-century. Q. X. Wang, a Chinese ink painter and calligrapher, confronts the challenge in his every day life. Already a college professor of English literature in the U.S., Wang became a full-time artist in his 50s and spent decades shuffling between Eastern and Western traditions, in the quest for a new visual language based on the belief that ''Difference Means Art; Radical Difference Means Great Art'." The lecture,  co-sponsored by W&M Confucius Institute and the Department of Art & Art History, presented his unconventional expressionist works and shared insights into the long process of artistic creation. 

  • William and Mary Confucius Institute China Lecture Series in Spring 2013

These lectures were part of a new China-related interdisciplinary lecture series primarily co-sponsored by the W&M Confucius Institute and the Department of History. 

  1. Financing Empire in Southwest China: Copper, Land and Local Society, 1650-1750” by Prof. John Herman, Virginia Commonwealth University
  2. Neither Silk, nor a Road: reassessing the Impacts and Legacies of China's Eurasian Titration” by Prof. James Millward, Georgetown University
  3. Civil and Military Tensions at the Early Kangxi Court” by Prof. Michael Chang, George Mason University
  • Internationalization Grant Campus Presentation: Digital Learning in Cross Cultural Pedagogy

          April 8 and Arpil 10, 2013

W&M faculty from the Chinese program, the W&M Confucius Institute, and the School of Education presented the initial results of the 2012-2013 Reves Center Internationalization Grant, "WM-China Initiative for Film and New Media in Higher Education."
Topics covered included:

• digital story-telling for study abroad courses
• web-based assignments
• international collaboration assignments using social media
• digital media for language learning
• visual ethnography

Faculty discussed practical experience using multimedia web-based assignments in place of conventional research papers and exams. Presenters provided examples of these assignments, sample project guidelines, and feedback on student experience.

  • Confucian Classics Faculty Forum 

             April 17th, 2012


W&M and its Confucius Institute partner institution, Beijing Normal University (BNU), hosted the Faculty Forum on Confucian Classics. Stephen Hanson, Vice Provost for International Affairs and Director of the Wendy and Emery Reves Center, gave a keynote address. Faculty presenters include T.J. Cheng, Eric Han, Yanfang Tang, Emily Wilcox, Tomoko Connolly and Xin Wu, as well as eminent scholars from BNU. In honor of the establishment of the William & Mary Confucius Institute, participants presented their research and perspectives on Chinese classics such as the Book of Changes and works by authors such as Confucius and Sun Zi (a.k.a. Sun Tzu). The forum was followed by a reception in Blow Memorial Hall, room 201, with music from Beijing Normal University folk musicians.
  • Lecture "Transnational Chinese Students and the Quest for Flexible Citizenship in the Developed World" 

             April 2nd, 2012


Vanessa Fong, Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University, was invited to talk about citizenship issues faced by transnational Chinese students in the developed world. The lecture was co-sponsored by W&M Confucius Institute and the Asia and Middle East Studies program (AMES).

  • Lecture "Shanghai Expo and China's private Enterprises"

             March 14th, 2012

Dr. Zhang Jijiao explored how the 2010 Shanghai Expo Chinese Private Enterprise Pavilion succeeded in attracting 16 top Chinese enterprises to showcase China's private sector for the world. This lecture was partly sponsored by the Reves Center for International Studies. Zhang is a Professor at the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS), and Chair of the Commission on Enterprise Anthropology, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES).
  • Lecture "Analyzing 'Shanghai Expo 2010' as a Nationally-owned Enterprise of China"

             March 12th, 2012


This lecture by Zhang Jijiao was co-sponsored by W&M's Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES). In this lecture, Professor Zhang explored Shanghai Expo 2010 as a nationally-owned enterprise, and even used it as a symbol of China's national economy.