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May 7, 2019

Research Workshop on Culture and the Common Good, Spring 2019

Scholars seated around a conference table

The Georgetown Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues hosted a two-day research meeting on “Culture and the Common Good,” convened by Dr. Becky Yang Hsu of Georgetown’s Department of Sociology and Teresa Kuan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The meetings explored concepts like the existence of global common goods, the effect of globalization on the family, and implications for American and Chinese societies. The five participating scholars, coming from universities in Hong Kong and the United States with backgrounds in anthropology and sociology, drew from the most up-to-date research in the social sciences on culture and morality to explore how American and Chinese individuals and families seek happiness in contemporary society.

Developing a Research Agenda

In their closed sessions, the research group brainstormed and developed several promising themes for further research, including the concepts of common goods and common bads, conditions promoting human flourishing, individualism and collectivism, as well as alienation versus modern civility. In the coming months, the group members will investigate how these ideas are defined and practiced in China and the United States through case studies. By addressing the global or common aspect of the problems, the group aims to promote mutual understanding on these issues and study the different ways people in the two countries deal with these problems. The research group plans to publish their research findings in an edited volume.

During their meetings, the group also had a chance to exchange ideas and get feedback from other Georgetown faculty.

Ongoing Work

The U.S.-China Research Group on Culture and the Common Good will meet again at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in December 2019 to further develop the joint research projects that emerged during the first meeting.