K-Pop to jerseys to locavorism, UO essays have people talking

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This summer, University of Oregon professors are driving the national conversation on a variety of topics, including science in China, the advent of K-Pop, World Cup jersey designs, the rise of locavorism and Justice Kennedy’s LGBTQ legacy.

Their commentaries have appeared in The Conversation, an independent news site featuring stories written by academics and edited by journalists for the general public. The UO is a member, and UO faculty members are regular contributors.

The Top 5 most-read Conversation pieces written this summer by UO contributors have been viewed more than 50,000 times. Here’s a rundown on the contributors and a sample from each essay.

1. Inventing the future in Chinese labs: How does China do science today? by Richard Suttmeier, professor emeritus, political science. Major publishers:  Scientific American and the San Francisco Chronicle.

“China has established national laboratories and other major new national research centers, inspired by the national lab experience in the U.S. and other countries. These new institutions – cross-disciplinary and problem-focused by design – are engaged in world-class research of international interest.”

2. How Korean boy band BTS toppled Asian stereotypes – and took America by storm, by Susanna Lim, associate professor, literature, Korean and Russian Studies. Major publisher: Salon.

“As I listened to “MIC Drop” and “Fake Love” on a local radio station during a recent trip to campus, it struck me that K-pop may have entered a new phase. The genre’s growing popularity says as much about the talent of groups like BTS as it does about the country’s expanding role in global affairs.”

3. What's involved in designing World Cup jerseys? by Susan Sokolowski, associate professor, product design. Story was picked up by The Oregonian, Chicago Tribune, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sunday Times South Africa

“Typically a jersey manufacturer will come up with a few ideas for each home and away jersey. Often they’ll include designs that look a lot like the team’s last World Cup jersey, others that are very different and still others somewhere in between the old design and a brand new one.”

4. Meet the foodies who are changing the way Americans eat, by Joshua T. Beck, associate professor, and Brandon Reich, graduate teaching fellow, marketing, Lundquist College of Business. Major publishers: Business Insider, Salon

“While it may be tempting to stereotype locavores as wealthy hippie liberals, as consumer researchers we wanted to dig deeper. Our research shows that locavorism is a consumer ideology with beliefs that cut across class, politics, age and gender.”

5. Justice Kennedy's LGBTQ legacy may be short-lived, by Alison Gash, associate professor, political science. Major publishers: The Good Men Project, Truthout, Alternet

“With Kennedy’s retirement, there is greater opportunity for anti-gay activists to dismantle the court’s tenuous legal framework supporting gay rights.”