University of Kentucky - Shanghai University

American Studies Center



The American Studies Center at Shanghai University is a partnership between the University of Kentucky and Shanghai University in China to establish intercultural understanding. The American Studies Center seeks to foster an ongoing exchange of ideas, culture, history, and art. Through symposia, student and faculty exchanges, and other related events, the American Studies Center at Shanghai University will bring a unique American perspective to Shanghai. 

The goal of the Center is to promote mutual understanding of the pluralism of American culture and experience. UK will share American experiences not commonly shared outside the U.S.—stories of ordinary people in their own words, plays, and songs—and will highlight the rich cultural heritage of the American Southeast and the Appalachian region. 

The American Studies Center is funded by a generous $100k grant from the Public Affairs Section (PAS) of the U. S. Embassy in Beijing, China.

2015-2016 Programming Highlights



1. Dr. Matthew Alan Hill, Livepool John Moores University, 6 May 2015

Democracy promotion, national interests and the Obama administration

2. Prof. YANG Huijun, Institute for American Studies, CASS, September 21, 2015

  How does the US Intervene in the Economies?  

3. Prof. LI Jianming, Fudan University, Nov. 12, 2015

USA and China in 1776


1.    May 11-15, 2015, the Center Co-hosted American Studies Workshop with USST and SHU. Topics included:

  • Higher Education and Graduate Study in the United States: Dr. Xiaorong Shao and Dr. Elizabeth Cramer 
  • Film Session on Food Inc.: Dr. Xiaorong Shao and Dr. Elizabeth Cramer 
  • US Literature and Environment: Dr. Jen Westernman 
  • US Environmental Justice and Sustainable Development: Dr. Jen Westerman 
  • Social and Economic Impacts of Climate Change: Dr. Jeff Colby
  • GIScience and its Applications: Dr. Jeff Colby 

2.    On April 15, 2015, the Center co-hosted the 2nd International Students Summit Forum with College of International Exchange and School of Foreign Languages, SHU.

3.    On June 25, 2015,  the Center co-hosted the workshop “Beyond Boundaries”, with College of International Exchange and School of Foreign Languages, SHU. Professors from China, the USA, Turkey, the UK and joined the workshop.                 


The American students from Shanghai University conducted Volunteering Teaching for Migrant Workers’ Children at Shanhai Elementary School regularly in 2014 and 2015. 


Shanghai University

Yong-an Zhang

Executive Director, American Studies Center

Executive Dean of the College of Liberal Arts

Shanghai University

Yong-an Zhang is Senior Fellow and Director of SHU-UK Center for American Studies and David F. Musto Center for Drug Policy Studies and professor of American History at Shanghai University.  Dr. Zhang’s research interests include the social history of drugs and medicine in 19th and 20th centuries, international drug control policy during Cold War, and China’s drug control strategy.  He has published articles on these issues in both English and Chinese.  His previous positions include visiting fellow of Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies (CNAPS) at the Brookings Institution, visiting associate professor of History of Medicine at Yale University’s School of Medicine and postdoctoral fellow in Medical Sociology at the Sociology Department of Shanghai University.  His latest studies are: Policy Choice in Changing Society: A Study on American Marijuana Policy (2009); Between Science and Politics: The American Medical Association and Origins of the Drug Control (2016). 


University of Kentucky

Dr. Sue Roberts

Associate Dean for International Affairs

College of Arts and Sciences

University of Kentucky


  • Ph.D. Geography, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 1992.
  • M.A. Geography, Maxwell School, Syracuse University, 1986.
  • B.A. (hons.) Geography, University of Leicester (UK), 1982.

Dr. Sue Roberts is an economic and political geographer, but she seeks to contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship as well. Her research interests may be seen as lying within one or more of the following related set of clusters:

  • Development and anti-development, development policy and geopolitics, practices of development institutions
  • Global economic and political restructuring, global governance and geopolitics, neoliberalism, trade, inequality and the super-rich, international finance, offshore financial centers
  • Geopolitics, U.S. hegemony, militarization, security
  • Social theory and geography, gender, inequity, political economy