International Language Education Events & Activities

Seminar
Rethinking ‘Hanhua (Sinicization)’: A case study of Dai-Han relations in Dehong, Yunnan (Thursday 1 Nov 2018)

Abstract: In multiethnic Southwest China, many people, including Han immigrants and native peoples, recognize that sinicization (Hanhua漢化) is taking place. However, the term is often used in a relatively ambiguous way. This term conceals cultural diversity and the dynamic changes taking place in society rather than representing the reality of the situation. In this presentation, I take the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Region德宏傣族景頗族自治州 in Southwest Yunnan province as a case study. The first purpose is to investigate who uses the concept, and the nuances involved. The second purpose is to clarify the reality of Hanhua in local society. The principle inhabitants of the lowlands in Dehong are Dai傣族, but the whole Region has experienced two types of in-migration by the Han over history. The first inflow from the Ming period was low-key, progressing relatively slowly, while the second inflow since the 1930s has moved at a fast pace. Both inflows produced different types of cultural transformation that have turned Dehong into a showcase for various types of Han-Dai cultural configurations. The talk will focus on the prevalence of various kinds of Guanyin cults that symbolically exemplify the situation of ‘Hanhua’. I will explain the reality of ‘Hanhua’ using analytical concepts like syncretism and hybridity. By doing so, I aim to capture the cultural diversity and change inherent in the term Hanhua, and to recognize the reality of the local society.

Speaker(s)
Professor Chiyoko NAGATANI (長谷千代子教授)
Graduate School of Social and Cultural Studies, Kyushu University
Date
November 1, 2018 (Thursday)
Time
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Venue
Room 3401, Academic Building (Lift 2)
Language
English

Talk
Book Talk: China’s Crisis of Success (Wednesday 24 Oct 2018)

Abstract In this new book, Overholt shows that the China Model, which emulates the experiences of the other Asian miracle economies, is superior to all other known development strategies in improving human welfare, but it is workable only in a tiny handful of very poor countries experiencing extreme fear and even in those countries works only for a limited time. China today is like an entrepreneur who has had a great run with a very simple organization but must now either reorganize to keep rising or stall out. This is a crisis of success. China is experiencing a big success but also a big crisis. Its future has become uncertain. Confronting its crisis of success, China has perhaps the most impressive stated economic strategy in world history, responding to economic complexity by moving from bureaucratic allocation of resources to market allocation. But the politics of implementing that strategy has so far worked poorly. And the current leadership has refused to address the equally vital question of political complexity. As a result, China risks economic stagnation and political discontent. Xi Jinping, often portrayed as China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, is indeed supreme in having eliminated competitors and accumulated titles but he is embattled and has yet to prove he has the will to make tough decisions and the power to implement his policies. The book transforms our understanding of China by providing a rare comparative perspective. Much of the most highly regarded academic literature on China, for instance arguing that China’s environment and corruption problems are uniquely bad because of its communist system, collapses when confronted with comparative data. Contrary to common Western perceptions, China’s environmental problems are not the world’s worst. India’s are far worse. China’s former priority for growth over environment served its people well: despite environmentally caused health problems, life expectancy doubled. Like London in 1950 and Tokyo in 1970, China recently passed a threshold of environmental consciousness and is now becoming the world leader in all forms of green energy, environmental alleviation and avoidance of climate change. Comparing the Asian miracle economies with the Philippines and other democracies undercuts the core Western myth that inclusive politics entails inclusive economics. Contrary to the leading development economists, Acemoglu & Robinson, democracies in poor countries are typically not economically inclusive while China is very inclusive in ways that have not been recognized. Bio William H. Overholt has been a Senior Research Fellow in Harvard’s Asia Center and its Kennedy School of Government since 2008. During 2013-15 he also served as Senior Fellow and then President of the Fung Global Institute in Hong Kong. His career includes 16 years doing policy research at think tanks, ten years at Harvard University, and 21 years running investment bank research teams. Dr. Overholt is the author of eight books, including China’s Crisis of Success (Cambridge University Press, 2018); Renminbi Rising: The Emergence of a New Global Monetary System (Wiley, 2016) and Asia, America and the Transformation of Geopolitics (Cambridge University Press, 2007). The others are: The Rise of China (W.W. Norton, 1993), which won the Mainichi News/Asian Affairs Research Center Special Book Prize; Political Risk (Euromoney, 1982); and (with William Ascher) Strategic Planning and Forecasting (John Wiley, 1983). He is principal co-author of: Asia's Nuclear Future (Westview Press, 1976) and The Future of Brazil (Westview Press, 1978). With Zbigniew Brzezinski, he founded the periodical Global Assessment in 1976 and edited it until 1988. Dr. Overholt received his B.A. (magna, 1968) from Harvard and his Master of Philosophy (1970) and Ph.D. (1972) from Yale.

Speaker(s)
Dr William H. Overholt
Senior Research Fellow, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business & Government, Harvard Kennedy School
Date
October 24, 2018 (Wednesday)
Time
12:00 noon - 1:30 pm
Venue
Room 3301 (via lifts 17-18), Academic Building, HKUST

Seminar
Animal Spirits: Stock Market Volatility and Loan Officer Decisions (Friday 19 Oct 2018)

Abstract Using data on business loans from a large Chinese bank, we find that daily stock market performance has a significant effect on the decision making of loan officers in a manner difficult to reconcile with rational choice theory. A one standard deviation decrease in daily stock market volatility causes contemporaneously approved loans to have a 5.3\% lower probability of entering distress. Firms whose loans are approved on high volatility days are larger and have better credit ratings. We explore a range of potential mechanism and find the most support for stock market volatility leading to an increase in the contemporaneous risk aversion of loan officers. Bio Tom Chang is an associate professor of Finance and Business Economics at the Marshall School of Business and a research fellow at both the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and the Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research. His current research focuses on better understanding individual decision-making and its implications for firm behavior. In between earning a B.S. in physics and a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Prof. Chang was a co-founder and managing partner of a software development firm whose clients included AMD, Boston Consulting Group, KPMG, MIT, Thomson Reuters, TWA and the City of New York. Prof. Chang has published in a wide variety of academic and professional journals including the Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Finance, Review of Financial Studies, Journal of Public Economics, AEJ: Economic Policy, AEJ: Applied Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. In 2017, his article “Being Surprised by the Unsurprising: Earnings Seasonality and Stock Returns” was awarded the Hillcrest Behavioral Finance Award for the best paper published in behavioral finance that year. His research has been made possible in part by grants from the George and Obie Schultz Fund, the Kauffman Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the USDA. His work has received significant media attention and has been covered by the Associated Press and featured in Bloomberg, Business Insider, CNN, The Economist, The Financial Times, Harvard Business Review, Freakonomics, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, The New York Times, CBC/Radio Canada, Psychology Today, PBS Newshour, the Washington Post and once made its way into the Tonight Show monologue.

Speaker(s)
Prof Tom Y. Chang
University of Southern California
Date
October 19, 2018 (Friday)
Time
12:00 noon - 1:30 pm
Venue
Room 3301 (via lifts 17-18), Academic Building, HKUST