2020 Undergraduate Conference of Chinese Studies: Coming to a Successful Conclusion

The Chinese Language Program is pleased to announce that the Undergraduate Conference of Chinese Studies (UCCS 2020), held asynchronously from December 3 to 24, has concluded after a 3-week period of Canvas sessions. A fledgling undergraduate forum at UBC, UCCS 2020 invited young scholars to present new research, engage in discussions, and help build a scholastic community in China-related disciplines.

The conference adopted the form of a vlog-style exhibition, showcasing video-taped presentations, to accommodate flexible attendance at the end of the term. The exhibition received 30 presentations from students in upper 400-level CHIN courses from the academic year of 2019-2020, with topics ranging from classical Chinese literature, modern and contemporary Chinese literature, and contemporary Chinese films. 

A total of 198 participants self-enrolled in the Canvas conference, and engaged in asynchronous discussions during the 3-week event period. Students were encouraged to apply the perspectives, tools, and methods of research they learned throughout CHIN 400-level courses in productive discussion. Ph.D. candidates Miaoling Xue and Jiaqi Yao from the Department of Asian Studies offered meticulous and professional guidance to online discussions throughout the event.

A mosaic of the students who created presentations for UCCS 2020.

The Chinese Language Program is honoured to have presented a stellar lineup of featured speakers from the Department of Asian Studies. Christopher Rea, Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, delivered the opening keynote speech of “文中紋, 影中紋 (Patterns in Literature and Cinema),” giving a mind-expanding talk over the inherent meanings of the Chinese concept of Wen (patterns found in nature and culture). The conference guest forum also brought together Kay Duffy, Assistant Professor of Premodern Sinitic Poetry, presenting “Perspectives on Literature in Translation,” and Renren Yang, Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Popular Culture, addressing “What is a Good Research Project.” It was a great opportunity for students to hear scholarly mentors speak on inspiring tips that can be handily implemented in academic research.

The conference received 39 responses from a survey about the best presentations. Based on originality and accessibility of research, three Most Outstanding Presentations of UCCS 2020 were decided from the poll. Congratulations to the following recipients of this award on their achievements, for both exemplary commitment to Chinese Studies and popular recognition from their program peers.

Zimo Guo, “Prohibition of Futuristic Technology in Hao Jingfang’s Science Fiction Folding Beijing” (Contemporary Literature Studies)

Calvin Lin, “On the Similarity between Blasphemous Objects in the Tang and Song Dynasties” (Historical Studies)

Yuyang Sun, “A Preliminary Study on the Dialectics in the Chapter of ‘On the Equality of Things’ in the Zhuangzi” (Classical Literature Studies)

We are grateful to our featured speakers, presenters, instructors, discussants, work-learn assistants, and all the participants for contributing to the success of the conference. A vlog-style exhibition of all presentations from the conference is available for viewing on the UCCS website for a short while.

In the future, UCCS will be organized by a research society of undergraduate students at UBC, and is expected to involve passionate organizers of events, designers with innovative ideas, and young scholars dedicated to research. If you look forward to exercising your expertise in these aspects, please send an email of inquiry to Dr. Zheng Cai at zheng.cai@ubc.ca with a brief CV.