A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
2008-2009 USCI Faculty Research Grants
U.S.-China Institute awarded 6 research grants to USC faculty conducting research on a wide range of topics, including religion, health, and economics.
Faculty Research Project Abstracts
Terry Cooper, School of Policy, Planning, and Development
Christopher Weare, School of Policy, Planning, and Development
"Homeowner Associations in China: Institutional Innovation and Urban Governance"
With USCI support, the USC Civic Engagement Initiative co-sponsored with Renmin University a June 2007 international conference on the emerging HOA movement in China and Chinese homeowners' efforts to establish property rights. Following that conference, Professors Cooper and Weare developed a complementary set of research projects with a network of USC and other researchers.
This project will be comparative case studies in which Professors Cooper and Weare will collaborate on methods of survey research and network analysis with Chinese scholars (Professors Youhong Chen, Shoulong Mao and Lulu Li of Renmin University) to examine the civic practices and civic cultures Chinese and American HOAs have developed. Professor Li has been conducting three Chinese General Social Surveys based on the American GSS. In the survey they included modules on respondents' social networks and political participation. Professors Cooper and Weare will replicate these components while over sampling individuals who live in new residential communities represented by a homeowner association.
The team was recently invited by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (LILP) to develop a proposal for an edited volume that will compare and contrast Chinese HOAs to those in other countries. The USCI grant will be used to prepare for a proposal for research funding to be put forward to the LILP China Program, as well as a research visit by Professors Cooper and Weare to work on the development of the survey they wish to conduct and to explore the availability of data for other research initiatives.
Mark Harris, Cinematic Arts
Marsha Kinder, Cinematic Arts
"Documenting the Global City: Enhancing Cultural Understanding Between China and USA"
In 2008, the year of the Beijing Olympics, when the world's media is focusing on China and its international relationships, USC's School of Cinematic Arts and the Communication University of China continues a unique collaboration which pairs novice filmmakers from each country to make short documentaries on Los Angeles and Beijing as global cities. With faculty guidance from both universities, each pair must negotiate cultural differences both in front of and behind the camera. The resulting films have been broadcast on TV both in China and the U.S., promoting cultural understanding in both nations at a time when media images of China have become increasingly important not just to Chinese authorities but to Chinese and Chinese Americans within the U.S.
Donald E. Miller, Center for Religion and Civic Culture
"Creating Networks and Research Collaborations in China"
This project will explore a number of collaborative relationships with sociologists of religion, directors of research centers, as well as educators. This includes participation by Professor Miller and his graduate student, Joy Lam, in a conference on religion in China that is hosted by the Templeton Foundation. The team will visit research sites of several of the scholars presenting papers at this conference, focusing in particular on the rise of the "new Confucianism" in China. In addition, they will interview a number of scholars who are investigating the rapid growth of Pentecostalism in China—one of the fastest growing Protestant movements in the world—and explore the possibility of linking to a university-wide exploration at USC on creativity. And, finally, contacts will be made with directors of religion-related research centers in China on partnering with the Center for Religion and Civic Culture (CRCC) at USC on joint research projects. CRCC is committed to expanding its research on religious NGOs as well as religion and politics. Donald Miller is Executive Director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture and Director of the School of Religion at USC.
Jon Pynoos, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Iris Chi, School of Social Work
Robert Myrtle, School of Policy, Planning, and Development
"Strategies for Providing Housing and Services to Meet the Needs of Frail Older Persons in Urban China"
This project will analyze how housing and service policies in China are adapting to meet the needs of an increasing number of frail older persons who need supportive environments connected with services. Information will be gathered through seminar and roundtable discussions with key persons (e.g., government officials, housing managers, developers, social service providers) who will be queried about such issues as the priority of housing for the elderly, the role of the government and private sectors, the implications of changes in property rights on aging in place, and the types of housing options that are under development. Site visits will be conducted of housing in Beijing that typifies old, traditional buildings, modern complexes, and senior housing in such areas as DeSheng Street Sub-District (a redeveloped area); Shicha Hai Sub-district (a traditional Hutong community); and the more traditional Goldfish Lake Housing community. The study will also include semi-structure interviews with residents (both the older persons and their families) concerning their housing history, the costs of their current housing, the role of their families, features that they like about their housing, changes that would make it better and what would happen if their health declined in terms of aging in place. The study will result in articles in housing/ social work/gerontology journals, presentations at conferences (including those organized by USC) and form the basis for future research and consultation with the public and private sectors in China and the United States seeking to address the housing related needs of an aging society.
Merril Silverstein, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Iris Chi, School of Social Work
"Intergenerational Family Support for Older Adults in China: Conference and Research"
This project aims to collect a fourth wave of data from surviving respondents in the Longitudinal Study of Older Adults in Anhui Province (LSOAP). The study began in 2001 with a random sample of 1,800 rural-dwelling adults aged 60 and over living in Chaohu, with repeated panels in 2003 and 2006. The study was initiated with support from the Fogarty International Center of NIH in collaboration with Dr. Li Shuzhuo of Xi'an Jiaotong University. The project studies how aging interacts with social, family, and economic change to influence the health and well-being of rural older adults. The sample will soon average 75 years of age, representing one of the fastest growing age-segments in the Chinese population. By studying these respondents over nine years we will be able to track their frailty and need for health and long-term care, and the social and material support they receive from children and grandchildren. The LSOAP represents a study of great interest to policy makers at provincial and national levels for its focus on the family resources of older people during a period of great change in China. Data collection for the fourth wave is planned for April 2009. This project will also facilitate on-going research collaborations between the School of Gerontology and the School of Social Work, widen collaborative efforts with Chinese colleagues in the field of aging, and provide graduate students with relevant data and training for developing their dissertation research on aging in China.
Carol Wise, School of International Relations
"Structural Shift: China and the Twilight of North American Integration"
The main purpose of this project is to analyze the rapid changes now underway in China's economic relationship with the North American bloc. Despite the launching of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in 1994, and the emergence of a highly specialized cross-border network of investment and production that spans the three NAFTA countries, those key industries once considered to be the backbone of North America (electronics, textiles, and autos) are increasingly under siege from Chinese competitors. Although the NAFTA members have thus far resisted the notion of pursuing a joint competition policy that explicitly joins domestic strategy within regional markets, the increasing pressure from Chinese competitors makes it difficult to ignore the need for such a strategy.
The working hypothesis for this project holds that a regional strategy proper could accomplish two important U.S. economic policy goals: 1) a more complementary U.S.-China relationship based on U.S. exports of technology, services, and the high-end of the production chain to China, while the latter continues to dominate in more labor-intensive and lower value-added activities; 2) a more secure foothold for Mexican producers in the U.S. market, as a focused regional strategy would enable Mexico to dominate higher value-added niches as part of the overall U.S.-China production chain. On this second point, the potential for greater employment creation in Mexico has direct implications for the mitigation of the large flows of undocumented labor now pouring into the U.S.
Thumbnail photo is of a statue that is in Yueyang, China which sits on the shore of the Dongting Lake. Photo by Steve Webel (Creative Commons license).