China Colloquium

"The Many Lives of an Emotional Test," by Jia-chen Fu, Dept. of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures, Emory University

Time: 12:30pm-1:30pm, Nov. 15, 2019

Location: Modern Languages 201, 532 Kilgo Circle, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322

This talk will explore the multiple Chinese iterations of the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet, which is generally considered to be the first personality test. Designed by the American psychologist Robert S. Woodworth (1869-1962), who had been appointed by the American Psychological Association in April 1917 to chair the committee on Emotional Fitness for Warfare, Woodworth had been tasked with the creation of a test for emotional stability. The war’s end in November 1918 left the question of whether Woodworth’s questionnaire would actually be of use in identifying recruits susceptible to “psychoneurosis” unanswered, but the test enjoyed great popularity through the 1930s.  Analyzing Chinese translations of the Woodworth Personal Data Sheet in light of May Fourth concerns about love and autonomy and the growing popularity of mental hygiene will shed light on how Chinese psychologists created new meanings and truth claims about Chinese subjectivity.

About the speaker

Jia-Chen “Wendy” Fu is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Russian and East Asian Languages and Cultures at Emory University. After receiving her M.Phil and Ph.D. in History from Yale University, Wendy was a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of California at Berkeley (2009-2010) and then Assistant Professor in the History Department of Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH). Her primary research is the history of science and medicine in modern China. She focuses on how new scientific disciplines and practices shaped conceptions of the Chinese physical body and diet. Her book, The Other Milk: Reinventing Soy in Republican China (University of Washington 2018), explores the curious paths through the conception of the Chinese diet as a deficient one led to the reinterpretation, rediscovery, and reassignment of social and scientific meanings of a local foodstuff, the soybean, in twentieth century China. Her teaching interests include science, technology and medicine in modern China, history of the body, food and culture, war and society, and East Asian martial arts.