Scholars from across three continents convened at the University of Pittsburgh’s Asian Studies Centers during the week of May 26-June 1, 2019 for the inaugural meeting of the Summer Institute for Chinese Studies (SICS). The Asian Studies Center, in collaborative partnerships with Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinology, USA (CCK-IUC), designed the Summer Institute to allow senior scholars of Asian Studies to meaningfully engage ten “early career scholars” in their research and scholarship throughout the week. Scholars presented on a range of fascinating topics related to this year’s seminar’s themes of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Presentations ranged from Health Caring in Daoist Ritual to Confucian Ethics in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. Participants formally presented their research each day, and then engaged in a series of panel discussions, workshops, critiques, pedagogical mentoring, and lectures for the purpose of developing Chinese Studies courses. The week was punctuated with group outings to visit the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens medicinal garden, the East Asian Library at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Taste of Taiwan food festival in Oakland’s vibrant walking neighborhood.
As the program evolves over the years, SICS will focus on the relationship between teaching, publishing and the production of knowledge through multi-media salons, blogs, curating exhibits, creative non-fiction writing, op-ed writing, and digitization of libraries, among other objectives.
Overall, the Summer Institute proved to be an enriching and helpful experience for both young and senior scholars. Meaningful professional relationships and networks were cultivated through the seminar, and opportunities for increased scholarship and intellectual growth were fostered by the level and rigor of inquiry and analysis throughout the sessions. The scholars were able to connect across disciplines and research interests, with their passion for Chinese Studies serving as the overall foundation for what proved to be a stimulating and fascinating week.