XJTLU-University undergraduate student presents research paper at international conference

2013-11-7 9:25:00 From: Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University

(XJTLU, China, November 1st) The 4th International Conference on Multicultural Discourses held at Zhejiang University (Hangzhou, China) from October 24th to 26th, witnessed the participation of Jiayan Xu, an undergraduate student of XJTLU, and the presentation of her research paper.

Jiayan Xu is a final year student studying in the Department of English, Culture and Communication (ECC) for the degree of BA in English and Finance. The paper she presented is titled "Semiotics on Display: Identities and Semiotic Landscape in Shanghai", which was developed from the research project supported by 2013 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at XJTLU.

First started in 2004, the conference aims to enhance cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and research innovation in discourse studies. This year, more than 100 participants from almost 40 countries and regions have attended this conference. Jiayan, however, was the only participant without a degree, as the conference chair, Changjiang Distinguished Professor Shi-Xu (editor-in-chief of Journal of Multicultural Discourses with Routledge, Taylor & Francis) pointed out.

Framed with the perception of a city's identity being semiotically spatialised and contextualised, the paper presented mainly examines from the perspective of discourse analysis the semiotic landscape of Shanghai and its connection to the reproduction of multiple identities for this city. Data were collected at Pudong International Airport, Shanghai railway stations and metro stations during this summer. In this paper, it is argued that semiotic landscapes have a significant role in constructing Shanghai as a city with multiple facets, but target audience actually is the determinant factor in the real practice of semiotic landscapes displayed in the disparate places.

Jiayan seemed to have learned much from this experience. She said "I have an insight into new ideas and in-depth researches, which are knowledge outside of textbooks. I also see with my own eyes that the beauty of language lies not only in its forms or pronunciations, but in its diversity and the necessity of studying linguistics, investigating discourses, and doing research of these fields".

When asked to make some reflections on her study experience with XJTLU, she commented that "I feel particularly grateful to XJTLU for the opportunity and support for doing research, and to my supervisor who has always been teaching and guiding me patiently and tirelessly. I love XJTLU so deeply just because of a team of dedicated teachers there who themselves are role models for us to learn from."

As her supervisor, Dr. Songqing Li from ECC spoke highly of Jiayan. He said, "Jiayan is one of top students studying in our department. As an undergraduate student, she already has a certain flair for identifying research topics which are both interesting and of practical relevance. I am proud of the progress she has made throughout the SURF project. Personally, if XJTLU aims to develop itself into a research-centered university, long-term support, instead of short-term support like SURF, should be provided to encourage more students at all levels to be involved in research.

(Reporter: Songqing Li; Editor: Douglas Warner)


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