Past NYU Shanghai Reads Events

Fall 2022
The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading: Venturing Outside Our Shells

The NYU Shanghai Reads Program kicked off its programming this week for our AY22-23 book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. English for Academic Purposes Lecturer Kelly Donovan led 40 attendees in this interactive session to consider how the narrator displays high levels of intercultural competence as she considers the snail. Inspired by quotes from the first few chapters of the memoir, attendees discussed strategies to cope with culture shock, cultivate intercultural friendships, and appreciate differences. This discussion is the first in a three-part series, The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading.

Green Shanghai Nature Walk

NYU Shanghai Reads and the student club Green Shanghai cooperatively led a nature walk through Shanghai’s Gongqing Forest Park for 14 participants on September 24. Participants had the chance to immerse in nature through fun activities, including a nature-themed scavenger hunt. After the walk, everyone shared their impressions of the experience over dinner. Participants had the chance to observe the vital details of nature, like what the author writes about the incredible details of a snail’s life.

The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading: Making Connections: Literature, Humanity & the Natural World

In the second lecture of the NYU Shanghai Reads series “The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading,” 29 attendees joined Professor Cori Gabbard in comparing chapter 13 of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, “A Snail’s Thoughts,” with Virginia Woolf’s 1919 story “Kew Gardens.” Modeling the kind of literary analysis that students encounter in “Writing as Inquiry” and “Perspectives on the Humanities,” this discussion-based event focused on the purpose and effect of referring to other literary texts; thematic connections between works; and how Bailey and Woolf respectively conceive of humanity relative to the natural world as embodied by the snail.

A Conversation with Elisabeth Tova Bailey

We were excited to welcome author Elisabeth Tova Bailey for a discussion about the experience of writing her memoir, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. 22 attendees engaged in conversation with Bailey, who joined virtually from her home in the United States. She read a selection from her book and talked about her writing process. The event included a lively Q&A with our in-person audience.

 

The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading: Queer Ecologies: Hermaphrodites, Interspecies Relationships, and the Power of Parasites

The NYU Shanghai Reads Program held the final talk in the three-part series, The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading, on Wednesday, October 19. Andrew Wortham, a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow for GPS, gave a talk on queer ecology, using Tova Bailey’s perspectives from The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating as a point of discussion. Queer Ecology often refers to an interdisciplinary academic pursuit to interrogate the dualism between “nature” and “culture”.  The event was held in the Ally in Action Lounge where 30 members of the NYU Shanghai community gathered to discuss the “cultures” of human-animal companionship, the diversity of “natural” genders and sexualities through the hermaphroditic snails, and the agency of the nonhuman parasites, mollusks and viruses.

 

Create and Reflect

In this workshop, Carly Siuta from the Student Health and Wellness Center led 16 participants to make art as a way to reflect, generate new thoughts, and express themselves in a creative way. The event used The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating as a starting point for reflective discussion, and as inspiration to make expressive art pieces connected to the book's themes. Participants reflected and got creative together in a relaxing atmosphere, and took home beautiful artworks to bring peace to their daily lives.

 

Spring 2022
Identity Through the Lens of Others

Members of the NYU Shanghai community met online last week for an online panel talk, Identity Through the Lens of Others. The event was co-sponsored by Diversity Initiatives and the NYU Shanghai Reads Program. Four panelists were in attendance, Teresa Arboled, NYU Shanghai ‘24, Carly Siuta, Student Health Center, Jiannan Shi, NYU Shanghai ‘22, and Ilaf Elard, Assistant Professor of Practice in Economics. The talk was moderated by Joyce Tan, of Diversity Initiatives.

Using the work of this year’s NYU Shanghai Reads author, Fuchsia Dunlop, as a starting point, the panelists will considered how Dunlop’s experience living in China, described in her memoir Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China, resonate today. The panelists were joined by 20 audience members who engaged in a Q&A, reflecting on what the panelists said and also sharing their own experiences. 

Wet Market Adventure Amongst Skyscrapers (Organized by the CEL Office)

Led by Xiaoyan Kong (Class of 2021), the visit was a one-of-a-kind visit to a traditional Shanghai wet market that persisted amongst the skyscrapers of Lujiazui. Students learnt about the history of wet markets in Shanghai and the lives of vendors while exploring the market environment, interacting with local people, and shopping for fresh food.

Movie Night: A Chef's Voyage

This film follows Chef David Kinch and his team's journey from their 3 Michelin Star in California on a one of a kind 'four hands' collaboration with three legendary chefs at their iconic restaurants in Paris, Provence and Marseille. This story of cultural encounters in the world of elite chefs features mouth watering descriptions of French cooking and insightful explanations of cooking processes and the history behind them.

A Night with Fuchsia Dunlop

An evening of discussion with author Fuchsia Dunlop about the experience of writing her memoir, Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China. Dunlop joined virtually from her home in the UK. She engaged in a panel discussion with NYU Shanghai students, followed by a Q&A with both our in-person and virtual audiences.

Read More: NYU Shanghai Reads: Fuchsia Dunlop on the Magic of Chinese Food

Fall 2021
Eating Our Way to a Sustainable Future

NYU Shanghai Reads is happy to present a lunch-hour salon discussion about food consumption in China. During this event, we welcomed two presenters who gave talks on the topic of sustainable food: Shiyin Wang, a Shanghai-based chef and creator of Kaixin Cooking and Valtero Canepa, the Convivium Leader of Slow Food Shanghai. Both discussed current trends and challenges in food sustainability, with an emphasis on China. The talks were followed by a Q&A, allowing NYU Shanghai community members to engage deeper on the topic.

Engage Your Community (New York Campus)

What does it mean to be a community ally? Panelists Sebastian Cherng (NYU Steinhardt faculty), Kelsey Louie (NYU Silver faculty and CEO of The Door), and Kristen Glinton (NYU Shanghai alum) discussed their work in community engagement, with critical reflection on what needs to be considered before, during, and after community engagement projects. The panel is tied to a number of food security volunteer service opportunities and a walking tour of foods in Chinatown co-facilitated by Professor Steve Iams and Professor Xiaoyue Huang. During the tour, the professors engaged topics from the panel, volunteer experiences, and Fuchsia Dunlop's book to explore the tension between celebrating food in potentially food insecure settings.

Food and Sociality

Inspired by the author Fuchsia's experience and thought of how food brings people together and comforts people’s hearts in the book Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, the lively bilingual panel discussion on Food and Sociality was organized by World Languages & EAP Social Committee, in partnership with NYU Shanghai Reads. The speakers were from UnTour Foods, Social Supply, and NYU Shanghai. Participants met and shared about food and culture with people from around the world.

Ally Week: You Are What You Eat?

We all eat, but sometimes we don't think too much about what we eat. Have you ever been curious about your favorite food's origin, history, culture--who chooses it, who likes it, who hates it, or who doesn't know anything about it...? This interactive, thought-provoking, and delicious fair about food centered around topics of culture, history and identity, 

Time for Tea: Tea Tasting Event and Discussion

Led by Professor Jing Chai and fellow student Bongani Ntsakani Musikavanhu, it was an excellent opportunity for students to get hands-on experiences with tea-tasting, tea ceremony performance, as well as a good time talking with each other and sharing their experiences regarding the tea. The event drew on themes from Fuchsia Dunlop's book, Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper.

Ecology and "New Village Life" in Qingpu

Located in western Shanghai, Qingpu district is the municipal water reserve and has a well preserved ecology. Surrounded by water and farm fields, Cenbu village attracted many new villagers from the city, who have taken up various ventures from organic farming, running cafes and hostels to coaching kayaking. On this collaboration trip between the CEL Office and NYU Shanghai Reads Program, students immersed themselves in the village life in Cenbu through exploring the village ecology and interacting with local people.

Read More: Community-Engaged Learning: Students Have Close Encounter with Organic Agriculture and Ecology of ‘Rural’ Shanghai

A Taste of Xinjiang: Stories of Food in Kashgar

In this talk, NYUSH professor and food historian Shuang Wen narrated the stories behind the foods discussed in the chapter "Journey to the West," of Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, this year's NYUSH Reads text. Professor Wen discussed the history of dishes such as nan, samsa made in a tandoor oven, polo (or pilaf as an alternative spelling), and springy pulled noodles, and more. Some of the dishes were provided as refreshments for guests to try out! With photos taken by herself in Xinjiang, Prof. Wen invited students to think deeper about the history of crop cultivation and food technology transfer between China and Central/West Asia.

Summer 2021
New Student Orientation (NSO) Summer Reads Session

Have you ever thought about the stories behind the foods that taste like home to you? How did these dishes and their variations come about? What is the history behind their ingredients and preparation?

To kick off this year’s NYU Shanghai Reads Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper, incoming first-year students shared their stories and findings on their taste of home through BrightSpace over the summer. During New Student Orientation in late August 2021, first-year students took part in small group discussions centered around the theme of “encountering cultures.” Facilitated discussions encourage students to reflect on, experience, and understand diversity both within and outside of their own communities through the lens of food.