Past NYU Shanghai Reads Events 2022-2023

Spring 2023
Caffeinated Conversations: Book Chat with a Professor

Feb 18

NYU Shanghai students and Professor Erica Mukherjee had a wonderful small-group discussion on The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating at Tsutaya bookstore. The conversation included evolution, the anthropocene, and relationships between humans and nonhuman animals.

Feb 25

NYU Shanghai students and Professors Beilei Gu, Meiling Chen, and Brad Weslake had a wonderful group discussion on The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating at Kubrick bookstore on Saturday. The conversation included snail biology, psychogeography, and classical music.

Both groups enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other better over hot coffee and explore a new space near the Qiantan campus!


The Sound of A Wild Professor Reading: Body & Time: Psychological time perception & the pace of our daily lives

15 students, faculty, and staff joined Professor Thomas J. Nyman for a book chat this Monday on The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating and the relationship between the body and psychological time. Together, we explored how our behaviors, thoughts, and context impact our perception of time, and related it to author Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s experiences while ill. Professor Nyman explained how psychological time flows differently for everyone and how illness and moods can distort perception.

Words of Nature

Students, both ViewFinder Club members as well as other photography enthusiasts, had a great time exploring Qiantan Leisure Park. Participants walked through the park for about an hour in small groups, getting to know each other better and photographing the nature they observed. 


Acting Like a Naturalist: Embodied Processes and Hybrid Possibilities

Six students and staff joined NYU Shanghai faculty Monika Lin and Erica Mukherjee for an event exploring the art and science of observing nature through the eyes of 19th-century naturalists. Participants explored our immediate surroundings on the fourth floor covered walkway, discussed naturalist themes found in The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, and engaged in a hands-on drawing workshop. Ultimately, the group gained a deeper understanding of the history and creative possibilities of embodied observation in the natural world. All participants were gifted a beautifully crafted notebook to take home.

Reading Through Movement

Nine students, faculty, and staff joined a dancing workshop with Professor Yuting Zhao on Wednesday, April 12. Together, workshop participants explored possibilities of gaining new insights through movement and performance. The workshop started with a warm up session inspired by elements from the book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, and introduced participants to the world of improvisation with fun games. In the second half of the event, participants created little dances inspired by sections chosen from the book. The workshop ended with a sharing session as participants enjoyed bubble tea.

The Sound of a Wild Professor Reading: Offspring and Family Function: Evolution in Economic Theory

Students and staff alike attended this fascinating lunchtime talk by Assistant Professor of Practice (Economics) Amanda Zhou. Professor Zhou creatively linked the descriptions of snail reproduction in this year’s NYUSH Reads text, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, with one of her areas of research interest, the economic theory behind how humans decide to marry and form families. The talk was followed by a lively Q&A where participants discussed the timely issue of declining birthrates in China.

Documenting Disabilities: Film Night with Unrest and Post-Screening Conversation

Five students, faculty, and staff joined us to watch Jennifer Brea’s Sundance award-winning documentary, Unrest, and discuss the film in connection with this year’s NYUSH Reads pick, Elisabeth Bailey’s The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. Professor Noel Joyce, Clinical Instructor of IMB, and Global Writing and Speaking Fellow Xavier Xin led a lively discussion following the film screening. Together, we shared our thoughts about the two texts, considered what it means to engage with them from our various positionalities, and pondered our own responsibilities in bringing about disability justice.

Sounds of Nature in Shanghai

Following the Sounds of Nature sound collection event two weeks ago, ten NYU Shanghai students, faculty, and staff joined us to listen to and reflect on the soundscapes created by event participants. In the first event of a multi-stage program, participants took a trip to Gongqing Forest Park to collect sounds, compiled them in an editing workshop, and displayed them in this final showcase for the entire NYU Shanghai community. Referencing the NYUSH Reads book The Sounds of a Wild Snail Eating, participants collaborated to build a digital collection of nature sounds in Shanghai that will remain available online permanently. The event was a wonderful way to conclude this year’s NYU Shanghai Reads programming!


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.


When Literature and Music Connect

On 13th December, members of the NYU Shanghai community enjoyed a classical piano concert presented by Professor Wei Chen. Seven students from Professor Chen’s piano class performed pieces from composers such as Liszt and Debussy, along with more contemporary compositions from the soundtracks of 1900 and Violet Evergarden. Each piece was accompanied by an emotionally resonant quote from this year’s NYU Shanghai Reads book, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. Concert-goers were treated to not just an auditory but also a visual experience, as the performances were accompanied by projected 3D visual effects generated in real-time. These effects were created by a student team consisting of Morui Yu and Yuanhe Guo and supervised by Assistant Arts Professor of IMA Marcela Godoy.


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