Current NYU Shanghai Global Research Initiatives Fellows

Brittney McFarlane
MS Candidate, Department of Technology, Culture and Society, Tandon

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (January 6 - February 6):

This semester, McFarlane will be starting her thesis exploring games’ potential to positively impact behavior through narrative and playful learning. She is particularly interested in Shanghai because she is familiar with the variety of online ESL companies that leverage digital learning and remote classrooms for young students. While she won’t be focusing on English learning, she would like to know if there exists different views on gameful learning between people in the greater New York City area and in Shanghai. More broadly, she’d like to apply the foundational knowledge collected (via literature reviews and other secondary research) this semester, to pre-testing her finalized research question. She is interested in behavioral change, narrative, and games as they relate to holistic education, society, and culture. In the future, McFarlane would like to develop a framework that allows her to apply her  research findings on gameful learning to a broader, global community.

Lauren Owen
MS Candidate, Department of Technology, Culture and Society, Tandon

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (January 6 - February 6):

According to a recent Brookings Report, performance in kindergarten is predictive of third grade reading, high school graduation, and future earnings. Additionally, there is no doubt that technology has interjected itself into every piece of people’s lives-- especially young learners. So how can people further prepare children for education while keeping them interested as technology progresses at record rates? Introducing Augmented Reality (AR) Story Books — a complementary mobile app that will allow young children to further engage with their physical books. The first application prototype was developed as a proof of concept that made illustrated book characters come to life using Unity and C#. The research conducted through the Graduate Research Institute in Shanghai will be on the proven methods of learning technology that can be incorporated via AR and the preliminary-production of a new prototype that encompasses these features. Owen will be looking at the methodologies of researchers before her on learning and AR from various levels and documenting her research for future implementation into the next iteration for further testing upon return to Tandon.

Bentley Brown
MA Candidate, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (January 6 - February 14):

On June 1st, 1988, New York City-based, Chicago-born African-American artist Frederick J. Brown became the first Western artist to exhibit works of art in the Museum of the People’s Revolution (now the National Museum of China), the second Western artist to display works of art in People’s Republic of China, and the first artist of African descent to do so. Spanning a twenty-two year period, Brown’s retrospective exhibition included over one hundred abstract and figurative expressionist paintings exploring a breadth of themes including American history and interculturalism, Black American identity and culture, spirituality, cosmology, art historical canon, and memory. The research Brown will conduct examines Frederick J. Brown’s 1988 retrospective in Beijing, China, considering how Brown’s exhibition and artwork became a catalyst for China’s Avant-Garde Art Movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, which broke away from state-sponsored social realism towards individualistic expression. Today, China stands as the world’s second-largest art market with Shanghai as the financial focal point. Using New York University’s GRI Shanghai center as a base of operations, he will investigate how the contemporary Chinese art market has developed out of an initial push for new modes of artistic expression that reflected the individual experience within the state, which began with Brown’s 1988 retrospective. In thinking of the faculty present at NYU’s Shanghai campus, the expertise Barbara Edelstein-Zhang, Maya Kramer, and Jian-Jun Zhang would be of great benefit to Brown’s research. Furthermore, the myriad resources on contemporary Chinese art available at NYU Shanghai’s library and art gallery, in tandem with the campus’s proximity to the Shanghai Art Museum and China Art Museum, make NYU Shanghai an ideal home location for his research. In addition to his stay at NYU Shanghai, during his four-week fellowship, he will be traveling to Beijing under the support of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in order to conduct interviews with artists present at Frederick J. Brown’s twenty-two-year retrospective, and visit the Central Academy of Fine Arts where Brown lectured prior to and during his 1988 retrospective. He will bring to light a critical moment when an African-American painter, sponsored by both the Chinese Communist Party and the United States government, opened the door of creative possibility for a new generation of Chinese artists, laying the foundation for the Chinese contemporary avant-garde while demonstrating the power of art to dissolve the perception of ideological, social, and political boundaries.

Shaoyu Tang
MA Candidate, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, GSAS

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (February 3 - March 6):

Academic works that describes expectations and desires contributes a lot to understanding Chinese new generations’ individual lifestyles, personalities, and desires. However, a lack of ethnographic research gazing into the values and self-evaluation of young people themselves who come of age under Chinese unified national education system still exists. Therefore, Tang proposes to do a master thesis aiming to bridge the represented and visible expectations and aspirations to the values and self-evaluation of Chinese urban youth through interrogating the way they perceive and use the word “success” in daily lives. The expressive meanings of “success” in different contexts (such as schools, family, marital market, media, etc.) to some extent reveal young generations’ imagination of a better life, either accessible or not. Also, besides using by individuals, success is also a word which has been existed so long in Chinese history and is unconsciously connected with middle class anxieties- especially youth and middle age. Shanghai is the second largest city in China and is a proper place for him to conduct interviews with local youth. He would like to take interviews with university students and compare them with students in NYU Shanghai. Also, Shanghai has a really complicated component of population, which provides an ideal field for class and youth study. Tang’s home university (Sichuan University) has good relationships with universities in Shanghai, therefore, they could provide him other help when doing fieldwork in Shanghai. During his time there, there should be Chinese Lunar New Year, which would be a good chance for him to participate in observation in families- he already has informants there.

Jingyuan Mo
PhD Candidate, Department of Finance, Stern

Synopsis of Research in Shanghai (February 24 - May 22):

As Mo’s research areas focus on the Chinese economy, he was able to benefit a lot from the NYU Shanghai campus, due to its geographic location and proximity to large industry firms in the CBD areas, from where he can receive immediate help on his research on the Chinese financial markets. The NYU Shanghai campus is also very close to (within walking distance) the Great Wisdom, a major data vendor in China, and the China Foreign Exchange Trade System, with whom his adviser and him have been working with over the past three years on obtaining some unique data products on the Chinese bond markets.

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