Student Report on Citizenship Lab Research Symposium

Reported by Cody Schmidt, class of 2025

This symposium was hosted by HRC’s Citizenship Lab. The Lab provides funding and resources to various research projects exploring manifestations and expressions of citizenship throughout the world.

The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab hosted a research symposium on November 24th, providing students and faculty an opportunity to present and solicit feedback on their work. Multiple disciplines were represented across the three convened panels, each of which involved Q&A sessions to foster dialogue among participants and audience members.

The Citizenship Lab’s co-directors, Professor Quinlan Bowman and Professor Robin Rodd, began the symposium by providing opening remarks regarding the Citizenship Lab’s mission, including understanding the citizen’s role in mobilization for resistance and activism.

The first panel of the symposium, “Equality, Belonging, and Solidarity,” was moderated by Professor Rodd. Professor Hyun Jeong Ha began the panel with her research into a South Korean religious group, the Shincheonji. Her research to date has featured interviews with 20 Koreans to analyze their experiences with the group and explore how their identification with this religious movement shapes their sense of belonging in Korean society. The second presenter for this session was a senior student, Jiyuan Sun. He provided an overview of his signature work project on autonomy-based conceptions of democratic equality.

Jiyuan reflected on his experience, saying, “I feel glad to have the opportunity to present my signature work at the point where a full draft is coming into shape, and to jump out of philosophy’s ‘armchair’ and engage with faculty members and students approaching citizenship topics from diverse disciplinary vantage points.”

“Nature, Culture, and Citizenship” was the overarching theme of the second panel. Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science Claudia Nisa served as the moderator, and also presented her work on the use of reclassification of farm animals as domestic pets and the subsequent effect it has on individuals. Julián Bilmes from Universidad Nacional de La Plata/Fudan Development Institute examined the Chinese-Argentinian relations in the area of natural resource governance. An iMEP student Lingyu He closed the session, presenting fieldwork she undertook in Tibet concerning religious artifacts and their commodification in modern consumer markets.

The final session was entitled “Power and Social Movements.” Professor Coraline Goron moderated and presented first on the panel. Her fieldwork explored citizen science projects in China and how they play a role in expanding citizen capacities in the country. Tanya Torchylo, a senior student, followed. She presented her insights into the way in which Information and Communication Technology facilitated the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2014.

“The symposium provided a fantastic opportunity for me to contemplate the progress of my signature work. Given that my research is ongoing, this reflection allowed me to organize the theories I’ve already explored, pinpoint weaknesses, and develop a clearer vision of how I want to shape my key argument,” Tanya said of the symposium.

Fellow undergraduates, Cody Schmidt and Lucas Chacko, presented next. Like Tanya, they focused on their signature work projects. They explained the meaning of “degrowth” and its connections to current political movements in Colombia. A PhD student at James Cook University, Helena Lopez Anderson, closed the symposium. She led the audience through a digital tour of Perth, Australia, describing how architecture throughout the city reflects the different stories and perspectives of citizenship for white and Indigenous groups.