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Zhejiang Conference features 3 UW Keynotes

by Laurie Dennis

June 2015

The slate of keynote speakers at Zhejiang University’s June conference, Communication and the Public: Social Media and Public Engagement,” will include three faculty members from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This strong Badger showing is the result of a decade of increasing collaborations between the two major research universities’ communication faculty.

Communication Arts Professor Zhongdang Pan, who will offer one of the UW keynotes, said the relationship dates to at least 2005, when he led a 10-day summer workshop on social science research methods held at the Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province-based Zhejiang University (ZU). Two years later, Professor Pan’s department hosted a visiting scholar, Prof. Fei Wu, from Zhejiang University, who went on to become Dean of the ZU College of Media and International Culture.

“Starting in 2012, I visited ZU annually,” said Professor Pan, noting that he was joined in various years by UW colleagues, including Communication Arts Professor Jonathan Gray, Journalism Professor Lew Friedland and others. Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication were also active in this relationship, led by Chinese social media expert Guobin Yang, who has given recent lectures in Madison and in Hangzhou.

Then in December, ZU’s Dean Wu invited the UW’s College of Letters & Science Associate Dean Sue Zaeske and Communication Arts Chair Michael Xenos to visit Hangzhou and discuss further collaborations. Professor Pan said those discussions are ongoing, but have already helped spur the launch of a new journal that he and Guobin Yang will co-edit, “Communication and the Public,” slated for a 2016 launch and to be published by Zhejiang University with Sage Publications.

“We hope that with the journal, the collaboration will lead to a product that could benefit the field of communication research as a whole,” said Professor Pan.

At the June 13-14 conference, Professors Pan and Xenos will be joined by UW Journalism and Mass Communication Professor Dhavan Shah, to give keynote addresses, while UW Professor Jenell Johnson will also be making the trip to China to join a related workshop. The conference will focus on new media technologies, rural and urban participation rates, public engagement and related themes.

The conference is sponsored by Zhejiang University’s College of Media and International Culture, the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, the UW-Madison Department of Communication Arts, and by the Wisconsin China Initiative.

The WCI sponsorship is through the Shanghai Seminar Series grant program, which the WCI administers for the Division of International Studies. Click here to see more on the Shanghai Seminar Series program.


 


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