Perspectives on Chinese Happiness at the University of Westminster

Perspectives on Chinese Happiness: A two-day event at the University of Westminster
29-30 June 2016
Location: The Pavilion, 115 Cavendish Street, London W1

Free of charge, registration required. Lunch provided on both days.
Open to anyone interested in this topic. 
All welcome.
To book a place, please email by 7 June 2016

This unique event seeks to establish dialogue with academic and non-academic audiences to discuss and respond to academic research on Chinese happiness.

The process of this two-day event will be facilitated by True Heart Theatre.

This event will present findings to be published in
Gerda Wielander and Derek Hird (Eds.), 
Perspectives on Chinese Happiness

The volume will make a unique contribution to the emerging field of happiness studies in China and beyond. It is based on the argument that governmental and popular engagements with happiness in China mutually inform and cannot be looked at in isolation from one another. 

The aim is neither to measure the amount of happiness in Chinese societies today, nor to argue the absence of happiness despite much official commentary. Instead we want to show some of the many different contexts and conversations about happiness by different social groups at different moments in time, to illuminate the diverse and divergent notions of happiness in China today.

The different scholars contributing to this volume employ different methodologies and disciplines in their investigation including historical, psychological, literary, artistic, anthropological, ethnographic and political approaches.  

There is no intention to moralize or judge. The scholars are interested as much in the politico-ideological as in the hedonic and subversive.  They argue that only by attempting to capture a variety of these discourses and their mutual interconnectedness can we begin to understand the multifaceted ways of searching for happiness.

Day One (29 June)
Getting to know each other
A Playback Theatre performance by True Heart – academic participants share their stories on the journey of the research process
Academic Paper Presentations

Day Two (30 June)
Greetings and welcome to new attendees
A Playback Theatre performance by True Heart – all participants are welcome to share their responses to the topic and presentations on the first day
Small special interest groups discuss findings; and reflect on to what extent this research is, or can be made, relevant for non-academic stakeholders.

Academic participants/presenters 
Dr Gerda Wielander is Reader in Chinese Studies and Head of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Westminster. Gerda is one of the editors of the volume, who will talk about Happiness in Chinese Socialist Discourse – Ah Q and the Visible Hand
Dr Derek Hird is a Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Westminster. His research focuses on the intersections of gender, sexuality and class in Chinese masculinities in China and the UK. He will present Smile yourself happy: the spread of ‘positive energy’ in China 
Dr Jie Yang is associate professor of anthropology at Simon Fraser University. She was trained in linguistic anthropology, and her current research centres on psychological anthropology, particularly critical studies of psychology and mental health in China. She will present her paper Happy Housewives: Gender, Class, and Psychological Self-Help in China
Dr Yanhua Zhang is Associate Professor of Chinese at Clemson College of Architecture, Arts and the Humanities. She will present Cultivating the ability to be happy as Confucian project.
Dr Giovanna Puppin is Lecturer and Programme Director of the MA Media and Advertising, University of Leicester. Her research interests include Chinese advertising, promotion and media/popular culture. She will present Moments of “Happy Chinese Taste”: a Critical Interpretive Analysis of CCTV 2014 Spring Festival Gala’s PSA “Chopsticks” (Kuaizi pian  筷子篇)
Dr Elizabeth Engebretsen is Senior Lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Oslo. Her major research interests include inequality, difference, power, and social movements in contemporary Chinese society. She will present Negotiating ‘familial happiness’ in parents’ support-narratives for LGBTQ children: Popa Fan’s Mama Rainbow and Pink Dads 
Dr Heather Inwood is currently Lecturer of Chinese Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester, where she teaches Chinese literature, media and popular culture. She will present her paper The Happiness of Unrealisable Dreams: On the Pursuit of Pleasure in Contemporary Chinese Popular Fiction. 
Dr Wenny Teo is the Iwan Wirth Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art at The Courtauld Institute, London. She will present her paper ‘To bet on happier tomorrows’: Conflict and Conviviality in Contemporary Chinese Art and Visual Culture.
Dr William Schroeder Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Manchester. He will present his paper entitled Potentially Happy: Queer Chinese Views on Finding Emotional Satisfaction.
Denise Kwan, is a PhD student in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures. Her research integrates the activities of art participation and the frameworks of qualitative research.

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