Becky Yang Hsu

Becky Yang Hsu is Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, where she is also affiliated with Asian Studies and the Graduate School's new program on Health and the Public Interest. She is convening the Research Group on Culture and Society, a project of the Initiative for US-China Dialogue in Georgetown's Office of Global Engagement.

Research Interests: Sociology of Religion, Organizations and Institutions, Global and Transnational Sociology, Sociology of Culture

Hsu's latest work is an edited volume, The Chinese Pursuit of Happiness: Anxieties, Hopes, and Moral Tensions in Everyday Life, co-edited with Richard Madsen (University of California Press, 2019) was published in September. What defines happiness, and how can we get it? The ways in which which people in China ask this universal question tell us a lot about the tensions and challenges they face during periods of remarkable social and economic change.

Hsu is currently completing a single-authored book, Happiness in China (University of Chicago Press), which focuses on family and happiness. She was Project Leader (PI) of a John Templeton Foundation funded project, "The Concept of Fu in Contemporary China: Searching for Well-Being, Purpose, and the Good Life" (2013-2016). The Washington Post featured two videos from my fieldwork in an article (“What people around the world mean when they say they’re happy,” February 3, 2016). For photos, videos, and more detail, please see the Research Page.

She is currently on the editorial board of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. Hsu's first book, Borrowing Together: Microfinance and Cultivating Social Ties (Cambridge University Press, 2017) details how participants in microfinance programs in rural China use the loans to cultivate their social networks. Hsu explains why microfinance's 'articles of faith' failed to comprehend the influence of longstanding relationships and the component of morality. Her other publications include articles in the British Journal of Sociology and the Journal of Health Psychology. She holds a B.A. from Yale University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.