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USC College, Marshall Earn Collaboration Grant

Project seeks to make USC the intellectual hub for contemporary Pacific Rim studies in the United States.

By Scott Moe
August 6, 2010

Carol Wise and Saori Katada, associate professors of international relations in USC College, spearheaded the Pacific Rim project, working with College and USC Marshall School of Business faculty. Wise photo credit Steve Cohn. Katada photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

Carol Wise and Saori Katada, associate professors of international relations in USC College, spearheaded the Pacific Rim project, working with College and USC Marshall School of Business faculty. Wise photo credit Steve Cohn. Katada photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

A team of faculty from USC College and USC Marshall School of Business has received a three-year grant through the inaugural USC Research Collaboration Fund for Pacific Rim studies.

Called "The Political Economy of the Pacific Rim," the collaborative project was developed by Carol Wise and Saori Katada, associate professors of international relations in the College. Seeking to position USC at the forefront of Pacific Rim studies in the next decade, the project includes on-campus speakers and events focused on the Pacific Rim economy; a series of seminars involving faculty and students at all levels, and an annual conference.

“With our strategic location in the city of Los Angeles and the emergence of California as a key crossroad in the Pacific Rim, USC is perfectly positioned to become the center for excellence in social science research in this area,” Wise said. “We aim to be the institution where researchers, policymakers, the media, and, of course, students, will first turn when seeking expertise and training in Pacific Rim-related issue areas ranging from trade and finance to the environment and demographic trends.”

Lending his knowledge and hands-on experience in the Pacific Rim, the lead faculty member in Marshall is Carl Voigt, professor of clinical management and organization, who each year advises and travels with graduate students on a research project abroad for the Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation's Business Advisory Council. Richard Drobnick, director of Marshall's Center for International Business Education Research (CIBER), which annually hosts one of the world's preeminent conferences on Asia Pacific business and economies, is a project partner. Other Marshall faculty involved are Yasushi Hamao, associate professor of finance and business economics, and Douglas Joines, professor of finance and business economics.

Additional College faculty members are Robert Dekle, professor of economics; Jeffrey Nugent, professor of economics; Stanley Rosen, professor of political science and director of the East Asian Studies Center; and David Kang, professor of international relations and director of the Korean Studies Institute, who teaches in the College and Marshall.

The USC Office of Research Advancement administers the fund, designed to help foster wide-ranging research communities and forums for sustained, ongoing collaboration among faculty and students across campus.

Looking to utilize their combined expertise with USC's location and resources, the project's developers hope to make USC the prime location for contemporary Pacific Rim studies in the United States, focusing on the following themes:

  • The political implications of the gravity shift from the Atlantic to the Pacific, including the "leveling" of the global playing field in China-U.S. relations.
  • Regional cooperation and sub-regionalism in Latin America and East Asia.
  • The differing economic, educational, and social security policies between the U.S. and the major nations of East Asia and Latin America.
  • The consideration of Asian and U.S. relations with other areas of the developing world, such as Africa and the Middle East.

Wise and Katada planted the project's seeds in fall 2009, forming a cluster group of College faculty specializing in the political economy of the Pacific Rim, which worked with Marshall faculty on select ventures. After co-hosting a successful workshop on the subject last April, College and Marshall pursued the grant through the collaboration fund.

Voigt said international business is one of Marshall’s core strengths.

“USC has so many deep competencies because of the provostial initiatives over the last decade or so,” he said. “In this instance we took a focus on the Pacific Rim.”

Pamela J. Johnson of USC College contributed to this report.