Do works of art have the potential to help people in different places empathize with and understand one another better when their governments are at odds? What roles can music and literature play in countering harmful stereotypes that people from varied lands have of one another? These will be the kinds of questions explored in this conversation, which will be moderated by Jeffrey Wasserstrom, of UCI’s History Department, and feature two distinguished visitors: Wu Fei (a musician, composer, and singer) and Te-Ping Chen (a journalist and writer of fiction).
Wu Fei, originally from Beijing and now based in Nashville, is an accomplished player of the guzheng (Chinese zither) who often collaborates with the Grammy Award-winning Americana banjo aficionado Abigail Washburn. Last year, the two released a self-titled debut album, “Wu Fei & Abigail Washburn,” which was featured on NPR and lauded by The Guardian as one of the 10 Best folk records of 2020.
Te-Ping Chen, who was born and raised in the United States and now lives in Philadelphia but spent several years in Beijing reporting for the Wall Street Journal, has recently published short stories in the New Yorker and the Atlantic. Her Land of Big Numbers: Stories, which has received a Booklist Starred Review, will publish on the day of the event.
Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor’s Professor of History, the Historical Writing Mentor of the Literary Journalism Program, and a Professor of Law, by courtesy. His latest book, published in February 2020, is Vigil: Hong on the Brink.