Newsletter No. 106

Literary Scholar Contextualizes Globalization in Universities P rof. J. Hillis Miller, distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Irvine, gave a lecture on 'Globalization and the Study of English and Comparative Literature: Implications for Their Uses in the Present Day University' on 3rd Ap r il at the Sino Building. The lecture was given in his capacity as Wei Lun Visiting Professor. In his lecture, Prof. Miller discussed the future role of literary studies as universities become transnational due to forces of globalization, namely, new communication technologies, the internationalizing of cooperative research, and the p r o l i f e r a t i on of transnational corporations. Quoting the US as an example, he said the curriculum of literary studies in English departments is changing rapidly in Ame r i can universities. Many are moving away from the separate study of British literature supplemented by American literature towards amore global study of literature written in English. In this 'globalized' situation, comparative literature takes on a new salience and a new definition: understanding of other cultures extends beyond simply knowing the languages of those other cultures. Prof. Miller is an internationally recognized scholar in the field of nineteenth and twentieth century English and American literature and in literary theory. Bom in Virginia, he obtained his MA and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University. Before joining UC Irvine, he taught at The Johns Hopkins University for 19 years, and at Yale University for 14. Recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships and the prestigious Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association for Illustration, Prof. Miller is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a past president of the Modern Language Association. Two-Day Workshop on GIS A workshop on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Spatial Population Analysis and Economic Development was organized by the Un i ve r s i ty at the Cho Y i u Conference Hall on 24th and 25th March. GIS is a computerized system for c o l l e c t i ng geographic data f r om sources such as satellite and aerial pictures. Such data can be used to study landscape and population changes, and help in the formulation of social and economic policies by town planners, governments, and academics. Both the Hong Ko ng Go v e r nment and the University's Department of Geography have used GIS in various projects on environmental protection, population analysis, and economic development. The workshop provided a forum for researchers from Hong Kong, China, and overseas to discuss the advances in GIS worldwide. Discussion topics included census data systems in the UK and China, the role of GIS in a European migration information system, the geography of elderly minority populations in the Un i t ed States, and the economic implications of the Beijing-Kowloon Railway for China using a web-GIS approach. Prof. Ambrose K i ng, pro-vice- chancellor, and Profs. Lam Kin-che and Leung Yee of the Department of Geography officiated at the opening ceremony of the workshop. ANTIOXIDANTS ENLISTED TO FIGHT CHRONIC DISEASES G reen tea is said to contain dietary antioxidants against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Antioxidants are ingested every day as components of edible oil and other food products. What is the effect of antioxidants on our bodies? Are they also anti-ageing agents? To increase the understanding of antioxidants, a symposium entitled ' An t i ox i dan t s: F r om Research to Industrial Development' was organized by the Department of Biochemistry on 21st March. It was attended by over 140 food manufacturers, dieticians, medical professionals, and pharmacists. The symposium introduced research in and applications of antioxidants, and was sponsored by the government's Industry Department. Speaking on 'Free Radicals and Antioxidants: An Overview', Prof. Fung Kwok-pui presented his research on the formulation of preservation solution for organ transplants. In his search for an ideal perservation solution, Prof. Fung has tested various antioxidants which can scavenge free radicals formed in the organs during preservation. Antioxidants could also play a role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and disorders of ageing. In 'Effects of Antioxidants on Tumour Cells', Prof. Leung Kwok-nam discussed the effects of various flavonoids on the proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis of tumour cells, wh i le Prof. Chen Zhen Yu considered green tea catechins as an alternative to dietary antioxidants. The Ideal Shape of Schools to Come O ver 150 Hong Kong school principals, Education Department officials, as well as academics from mainland China, Thailand, Australia, and the United States attended a conference entitled 'Designing Schools for the 21st Century: Considerations for Hong Kong's School Leaders' at the University. Jointly organized by the Department of Educational Administration and Policy and the Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research, the conference took place on 1 st March in the Ho Tim Building. In the opening address, Mrs. Helen C. P. Yu, JP, Director of Education, emphasized the importance of school design to Hong Kong 's future prosperity. Keynote speaker Dr. Alan Bain, a former university professor in Australia who is actively involved in America's school reforms, stressed the need to integrate computer technology into the school curriculum and to recognize the heterogeneity of the student body. Other speakers included Prof. Brian Caldwell from Melbourne University, Prof. Brian Rowan from the University of Michigan, and Prof. L i Y i Xian from Beijing. CUHK academics Prof. Clive Dimmock and Prof. Allan Walker spoke on the importance of recognizing national and cultural differences in school reform policies, while Prof. Benjamin Chan discussed the redesigning of schools through teacher development.