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Susan Brownell

Professor Dr. Susan Brownell, an anthropologist, is currently visiting at the Institute of Chinese Studies and the HCTS. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1990. Susan is an internationally recognized expert on Chinese sports and has done fieldwork in China, primarily in Beijing. Her research interests are sports and body culture. In 2007-08 she was a Fulbright Senior Researcher at the Beijing Sport University, doing research on the Beijing Olympic Games. She has been visiting our Institute since January and has taught courses both in the Institute of Chinese Studies in the Center for East Asian Studies and in the MATS where she is offering a course on The Body in Culture this semester, too. She will also be organizing a workshop in Chinese public intellectuals in a Global Context, in cooperation with Jeffrey Wasserstrom in May and she will be a discussant at an event organized by the SINGLE project at the Cluster with Sanjay Srivastava. Susan’s office is upstairs in the 3rd floor! Go and meet her!


In January, Susan Brownell will offer a course in the MA Transcultural Studies at the HCTS (“Mega-Events and the World System, covering events such as Olympic Games, world’s fairs, and global media events”). The course will cover the history and anthropology of mega-events (such as Olympic Games and world’s fairs) and media events (such as royal weddings) that attract large global audiences. It will review research methods and theoretical approaches for analyzing them.  It will explore the relationship between these events and the growth of transnational society since the late 19th century.  Based on research conducted by the instructor, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Shanghai World Expo 2010 are presented as case studies, with attention to the question of whether these events facilitated China’s integration into the world system.