Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Covid-19 Workshops — Session 1: the China Debate

This was the first of three sessions to explore interdisciplinary responses to the current coronavirus pandemic.

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8 December 2020

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Many resources pertaining to the presentations are posted here on the CCHH website. Please consult them to make the most of the discussions.

This debate was run Question Time fashion with the questions taken in advance from our students in the Health Humanities. They were prepared online presentations on all the themes of the debate:


  • 9.35am. Introduction by Prof. Nicola Miller (IAS,UCL) and Prof. Vivienne Lo (CCHH, UCL).
  • 9.40am. THEME 1. Global Health & the Pandemic in UK and China. Chair: Prof. Nicola Miller. Panelists: Prof. Therese Hesketh (IGH), Dr Zhou Xun (Essex U.), Prof. Sun Ji Ming (Zhejiang Province: Centre for Disease Control), and Dame Anne Johnson (UCL: Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology).
  • 10.40am Launch of Zhou Xun’s latest book The People’s Health (Please find flyer here).
  • 10.50am. THEME 2. Dangerous pleasures from the wet market or gentle home remedies? Chair: Prof. Vivienne Lo. Panelists: Dr Wang Xingyuan (UCL Anthropology), Professor Volker Scheid (University of Westminster), Yang Yi (PhD Candidate UCL History), Professor Michael Heinrich (UCL Pharmacy) and Luis Fernando Bernadi Junqueira (PhD Candidate UCL History).
  • 11.45am. THEME 3. Chinese and East Asian communities’ experiences of Covid related racism in the UK . Panelists: Dr Lu Gram, Amy Phung (besea.n), Hau-Yu Tam (SOAS) and the End the Virus of Racism campaign.

This session was organised by the China Centre for Health and Humanity (CCHH) in collaboration with the Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS) both at UCL.


  • Michael Heinrich is Professor of Ethnopharmacology and Medicinal Plant Research (Pharmacognosy) and was previously the head of the research cluster ‘Biodiversity and Medicines’ at the University College London’s School of Pharmacy. He currently serves as the joint chair of UCL’s Research Ethics Committee (with Dr. L. Ang, Institute of Education).
  • Therese Hesketh is a Professor of Global and Child Health in University College London’s IGH/ICH. She also holds a professorship at Zhejiang University. She has published widely on numerous subjects in the public health of China. 
  • Lu Gram is a Sir Henry Wellcome postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Global Health at UCL. He is co-founder of the End the Virus of Racism campaign and is contributor to a Lancet series of Racism, Xenophobia and Health. He has published works on community empowerment, collective action, and societal power dynamics. 

  • Dame Anne Johnson is Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at University College London and Co-Director of UCL Health of the Public. Since 2011 she has been Chair of  the UCL Population and Lifelong Health Domain and was  Vice-Dean for External and International Relations from 2015-2018.  From 2007-14 she was Co-Director, UCL Institute for Global Health

  • Luis Fernando Bernardi Junqueira (林友樂) earned his master’s degree in Chinese History at Fudan University and is currently a PhD candidate in History at University College London. Sponsored by the Wellcome Trust, his research explores the impact of transnational spiritualism and psychical research on China’s healthcare market during the first half of the twentieth century.
  • Vivienne Lo is Professor of Chinese History and Director of the China Centre for Health and Humanity at UCL. She is well published in the history of medicine in China with a particular interest in visual culture and the cross-cultural transmission of technical knowledge.
  • Lu Gram is a leading researcher on women's and communities' empowerment in low- and middle-income countries and a specialist in collective action for health and gender equality. He is a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow and recipient of a Naughton Clifts-Matthew grant. Lu has published 25 peer-reviewed articles on topics of maternal and child health, women's empowerment, and community mobilisation. He has worked in many places in Asia and Africa with research partners from World Health Organization, Saving Newborn Lives, and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
  • Nicola Miller joined UCL in 1990.  She became Professor of Latin American History in 2007 and is currently director of UCL’s IAS. Her research is focused on the intellectual, cultural, political and international history of the Americas, in comparative and transnational perspectives; and in nationalism and national identity, especially in the Americas. Her recent research has been on the history and politics of knowledge.
  • Amy Phung (besea.n) is the Co-Founder of besea.n, Britain’s East and South East Asian Network, which aims to address under- and misrepresentation of East and South East Asians in U.K. media, as well as spotlighting prominent ESEAs. She uses her work as a Graphic Designer and Illustrator to highlight issues faced by ESEAs and works closely with creatives in the community in her advocacy work. 
  • Volker Scheid is a Visiting Professor in the School of Humanities, University of Westminster, where he was previously Director of EASTmedicine (East Asian Science and Traditions in Medicine).  He is an experienced clinician and renowned academic researcher with a long-standing interest in finding ways of thinking about the historical development of Chinese medicine that transcend the tired frameworks of modernity.
  • Xinyuan Wang was a post-doc researcher in UCL Anthropology where she received her PhD and MSc degrees. She worked on the ‘Why We Post - Global social media impact study’. She was co-author and translator of the Chinese version of Digital Anthropology (Horst and Miller Eds., 2013). Her most recent books are How the World Changed Social Media (co-author, 2016, UCL Press), and Social Media in Industrial China (2016, UCL Press). 
  • Karlie Wu (胡嘉瑤) is an artist exploring what it means to be British/Scottish-Chinese, its expectations and misconceptions, and the reality of this lived experience. Wu is also one of the six founding members of besea.n (Britain’s East and South East Asian Network), a non-profit, anti-racism grassroots organisation that tackles negative stereotypes and advocates positive media representation of ESEA people in the UK.
  • Yang Yi was a researcher and practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture in Capital Medical University (Beijing) where she received her MSc and PhD degrees in Medical Science of Internal Medicine. Currently she is a PhD candidate in History at University College London, working on a cross-cultural oral history of Five Element Acupuncture between Britain and China from the 1970s onward.
  • Zhou Xun is Reader of Modern History at University of Essex. She is one of Europe’s most productive historians, media researchers and analysts specialising in modern China. She has also an outstanding track record in trans-cultural/global studies. The most recent of her many publications, The People’s Health, will be launched at this event.

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