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 a Senior Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs. She is directing a research group on the topic of Culture and Society, a project of the Initiative for US-China Dialogue in Georgetown's Office of Global Engagement.

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

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

Hsu is currently completing a single-authored book, Happiness in China: Social Sources of Good Feeling (under contract, University of Chicago Press), which focuses on family, rituals, and well-being. The Washington Post featured two videos from her fieldwork (“What people around the world mean when they say they’re happy,” February 3, 2016). This research emerged from "The Concept of Fu in Contemporary China: Searching for Well-Being, Purpose, and the Good Life" (2013-2016), a John Templeton Foundation funded project for which she was Project Leader (PI).

She is currently on the editorial boards of two journals, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and Social Science and Medicine—Mental Health. Hsu's first book, Borrowing Together: Microfinance and Cultivating Social Ties (Cambridge University Press, 2017) details the influence of longstanding relationships and the component of morality on participation in microfinance programs in rural China. 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.