The Self and the Other: How We Navigate Identity in the 21st Century

Friday, October 29, 2021, 9:00 PM CST

Zoom: 336 052 6609 | passcode: aiyo

Before embarking on complex sociocultural histories of fatness, beauty, disability, neurodivergence, and queer representation, the first seminar in the Body Liberation & Feminism series deals with the notion of the self, and by extension, the other. How does your ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual or romantic orientation, faith, education, body type, and other identity markers influence who you are? What impact do these markers have in defining and predicting your social position in different contexts? In what ways are you privileged or marginalised by these converging identities? Join us on Zoom to participate in an interactive workshop led by some of your favorite professors and peers where you can learn more about these questions through fun activities and group discussions!

Click here to RSVP.

For more information, please contact Honey at

The Humanities Research Center Welcomes Senior Program Coordinator Eugenie Chao

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce the appointment of  Eugenie Chao as Senior Program Coordinator. Reporting to co-directors James Miller and Carlos Rojas, Eugenie is responsible for the overall co-ordination and administration of the Center’s programs.

Currently working remotely from New York, Eugenie received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and her Master’s degree in Performing Arts Administration both from New York University. In her professional life, Eugenie has focused on making arts accessible. She has taught music in public schools and ceramics in her local community. She also organized antique art fairs, and, most recently, managed public art events for Arts Brookfield. She is excited to bring her broad experiences as an arts educator and arts administrator to the Humanities Research Center.  As Senior Program Coordinator, Eugenie will take charge of the Center’s activities by supporting its research programs, labs, workshops, and conferences to foster interdisciplinary research and exchange in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social science at DKU.

Ceramic Plate by Eugenie Chao

Eugenie loves to share the joy of art making and art appreciation with those around her. During her free time, you will likely find her throwing pots in a ceramic studio, playing music, or making pastries and cakes in her kitchen. The photo shows a shallow dish she recently made. You can also find more of her work here:

WGDI Presents “Body Liberation & Feminism: A Series”

The Women’s, Gender, and Diversity Initiative (WGDI), in collaboration with the Humanities Research Center, is proud to present the first seminar in our pilot event series: Body Liberation and Feminism: A Series. The WGDI is an informal collective of DKU students and faculty who are working together to initiate conversations rooted in contemporary questions of power and inequality and how they connect to intersectional themes like race, gender, and sexuality.

In this series, we hope to engage students in dialogue surrounding the body by organizing a series of academic seminars that focus on the experiences of underrepresented groups in society. The body, apart from its physical experience, is also home to ideas of self and belonging. Discourse on the body transcends appearances as gender, sexuality, race, disability, and other axes of diversity continue to inform and frame the conversation. This includes dialogue on fatness and the fat experience; the beauty construct—especially for women, the experiences of neurodivergent people, the disabled community, and how this diversity is represented in queer spaces. Connecting these distinct topics are notions of beauty, femininity and masculinity, social acceptance, and the systemic and institutional erasure of these communities in broader society. We hope that through engaging with these complex themes and ideas, we can push forth the concept of body liberation by taking an intersectional, feminist approach.

For more information, please contact Honey at

TSL Brown Bag Lunch Research Talk | Dr. Harper Staples Oct. 22

You are cordially invited to attend the TSL Brown Bag Lunch Research Talk by Dr. Harper Staples on Mapping and analyzing multilingual student identities in the European context: outcomes and implications for learner engagement and wellbeing at noon on Friday October 22, 2021 (China Standard Time).

Location: CC 1095. Zoom link will be sent to remote participants. Bring your own lunch and enjoy the talk! Snacks and bubble tea provided.

RSVP by 5 pm China Standard Time Thursday October 21 :

Continue reading “TSL Brown Bag Lunch Research Talk | Dr. Harper Staples Oct. 22”

Superdeep Seminar #1: “Reactive Luck” (Nathan Hauthaler) | Wed, Oct 13, 6:30pm

Wed, Oct 13, 2021, 6:30pm CST

IB 2026 | Zoom 6979897969

All DKU students are invited to attend the first meeting of the Superdeep Seminar, DKU’s work-in-progress seminar for philosophically-minded or -interested students and student projects. No prior knowledge of philosophy is required; all students, from all divisions and at all stages of their studies, are invited to join and participate in the seminar.

In our first meeting we will discuss the seminar format, lineup, and ways for students to get involved. Subsequently Nathan Hauthaler (Lecturer in Philosophy) will give a brief sample presentation on his current work on “Reactive Luck”, followed by Q&A with students.

Snacks and refreshments will be served at the meeting.

Continue reading “Superdeep Seminar #1: “Reactive Luck” (Nathan Hauthaler) | Wed, Oct 13, 6:30pm”

The Future of Work and Labor 劳动的未来 / 未来的劳动

Humanities Fall Conference

Scan to register

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce its fall conference: The Future of Work and Labor 劳动的未来 / 未来的劳动. The conference features three renowned keynote speakers: multimedia artist Cao Fei; science fiction author Chen Qiufan; and professor of philosophy and business, Wang Jianbao. In addition to the keynote speeches, DKU faculty from a range of disciplines will introduce their research, and various labs from the Humanities Research Center will make presentations about their research over the past year. DKU students may register for the conference by filling in this registration form or scanning the QR code. Please register by October 29 if you would like to attend the dinners. Those who register after October 29 are welcome to attend the sessions, but will not be eligible to attend the dinners.

Keynote Speakers

CAO Fei (b. 1978, Guangzhou) is an internationally-renowned Chinese contemporary artist. Currently living in Beijing, she mixes social commentary, popular aesthetics, references to Surrealism, and documentary conventions in her films and installations. Her works reflect on the rapid and developmental changes that are occurring in Chinese society today.

Cao Fei’s works have been exhibited at a number of international biennales, triennales and art institutions. Cao Fei’s major projects in recent years include a solo exhibition at MoMA PS1, New York (2016), the BMW  Art Car Project (2017), the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (2018), a solo show at the Tai Kwun Contemporary, Hong Kong (2018), a retrospective at K21 Düsseldorf (2018), a solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2019), an Augmented Reality Art Project by APPLE and the New Museum, New York (2019), a solo exhibition Blueprints at the Serpentine Galleries, London (2020). Cao Fei’s recent projects include a major retrospective Staging the Era at the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing (2021), and a solo exhibition at the MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, Rome (2021).

Cao Fei is a professor and a master advisor of the School of Experimental Art at the Central Academy of Fine Arts. She was also on the jury of The Selection Committee for the Curatorship of the 8th Berlin Biennale (2014), the jury of The Bonnefanten Award for Contemporary (2016), and the jury of Hugo Boss Asia Art Prize (2019). Cao Fei is the nominator of the Rolls-Royce Art Program Muse (2019) and the winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2021).

CHEN Qiufan 

Chen Qiufan (a.k.a. Stanley Chan) is an award-winning Chinese speculative fiction author, translator, creative producer, and curator. He is honorary president of the Chinese Science Fiction Writers Association, and has a seat on the Xprize Foundation Science Fiction Advisory Council. His works include the novel Waste Tide and, co-authored with Kai-Fu Lee, the book AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future. He currently lives in Shanghai and is the founder of Thema Mundi Studio.

WANG Jianbao is the Director of the Center for the Humanities and Business Ethics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB),  since 2017. He is also a Research Fellow at CKGSB and Associate Researcher at Peking University.

His research focuses on Confucianism as well as developing new business models. Most of his research papers and articles were published in Chinanews, Chuanshan Journal (CSSCI), Legein Society, Financial Times Chinese Edition, Global Times, Caijing, China Minutes and People’s Daily. His article, On Shengyi (Business), was accepted by the 24th WCP and was published in the book Humanistic Spirit in the Third Age of Confucianism: Essays in Honor of Tu Weiming’s 80th Birthday.

With his expertise in the areas of philosophy and business, Dr. Wang is the leader of curriculum design for Humanities and Business Ethics. His courses include The First Class on Humanities, Who Are Confucian Entrepreneurs and What Can Confucian Entrepreneurs Do?, Entrepreneurial Spirit, New Era, New Business, New Civilization, Cultural Identity and Dialogue among Civilizations, On Business: Belief, Behaviour and Business etc.

Prior to joining CKGSB, Dr. Wang had a long career in corporate group management, public company management, and supply chain management. He was the Chief Representative at Pakistan Railway (1999-2000). He also successfully built a National R&D Center (2011). Dr. Wang received his baccalaureate degree in mechanical engineering from Xi’an Jiaotong University, EMBA from Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, and his doctoral degree in Philosophy from Peking University. His dissertation, Wealth and the Way: A Mencian Perspective, pioneered the understanding of Confucian Entrepreneurs, under the supervision of Prof. TU Weiming, fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Academia Sinica.  


All plenary events take place in the IB Auditorium. Parallel sessions take place in rooms as noted below. An asterisk indicates an online or prerecorded presentation. All other presentations will take place live.

Thursday, November 11

Pre-Conference  Film Screening, introduced by Zairong Xiang, 1900-2120.

The HRC will show two of Cao Fei’s films about the future of work and labor,  which were partially shot in Kunshan.

1900-2010 11.11 (2018)
11.11 is a documentary that records the work overload of the entire logistics system before and after the “double eleven” shopping day in China (the equivalence of America’s Black Friday). From goods being sorted at’s gigantic sorting centre in the outskirts of Beijing and the double eleven national command centre at’s headquarter, to the numerous delivery points spread across Beijing’s entire commercial and traditional districts, and the mission and individual existence of the couriers working at online shopping terminals. All of the above sketch out the landscape of a system of consumption driven by the powerful Internet economy (JD alone achieved 120 million rmb total sales on that single day). How will this situation lead us into a future social ecosystem?

2010-2015 Intermission

2015-2120 Asia One (2018)
Asia One envisions a scene in 2021, when a young female worker, a male worker and a cute AI robot (who is the daily companion of the female worker) are working in a large automated logistics centre “Asia One Unmanned Warehouse.” After long periods of loneliness and repetitious labour in the factory, the young workers start to have a special feeling for each other. In a humdrum day-to-day work-life, they seem to have fallen in an emotional entanglement between the “unmanned” (intelligentised production), “human” and “non-human” (robot).

Friday, November 12

0930 Opening Ceremony
1000 Keynote Lecture: CHEN Qiufan

From Prophecy to Pharmakon: AI Trends in Chinese Science Fiction

AI as a theme has been developed rapidly in Chinese science fiction narratives in recent years. It reflects the dynamic changes of the state on encouraging the tech innovation and the anxiety of being strangled by the west. However, the genre and the theme itself was imported from the west and remarkably leaving the traces of imitation and thought heritage. From the varying attitudes towards AI in different period of time, science fiction as an imaginary narrative allows us to reflexively discuss the relationship between humans and technologies and go beyond the binary thinking of “favor or fear.”

1130 Lunch

1300 Faculty Panel 1A: Philosophy, Politics and Ethics | IB1050

  • Quinlan Bowman: Governing the Barbarians: Considerations on Mill’s Defense of Despotism
  • Nathan Hauthaler: Practical Metaphysics
  • Nisa Claudia*: Moving toward a Cruelty-free China

1300 Faculty Panel 1B: Literary and Virtual Realities | IB1051

  • Ben Van Overmiere: Zen and the Art of Detective Fiction: the Case of Janwillem van de Wetering (1931-2008)
  • Stephanie Anderson: Slip Ups and Smallnesses: Daisy Aldan and the Forgotten Legacy of Folder
  • Xin Tong: Virtual Reality as an Empathy Machine for Vulnerable Populations

1430 Faculty Panel 2A: Global China | IB1050

  • Nellie Chu: From the Runway to the Platform (and Back): The Politics of In-Authenticity in an Era of Global Fast Fashion and China’s E-Vendor Economy
  • Andrew Field: Jazz Communities in Shanghai, 1920s-2020s
  • Jinyu Liu: Discovering Buddha
  • Megan Rogers: Social Risk and Religious Identity Formation in a Non-Religious Environment: Gender and Religious Conversion among China’s Urban Professionals

1430 Faculty Panel 2B: Politics, Policies and Environments | IB1051

  • Jason Douglas Todd: Electoral Timing or Districted Elections? Maximizing Black Descriptive Representation in County Legislatures
  • Irina Soboleva*:  Personality Origins of Pandemic Policy Compliance
  • Wanggi Jaung: Urban green space and environmental injustice in popular culture: a machine learning approach
  • Joseph Giacomelli: Climate and capitalism in the late 1800s American West

1430 Student Seminar with CHEN Qiufan (pre-registration required) | IB1055

1600 Tea Break

1630 Humanities Research Center Labs and Student Research Projects

Student members of HRC labs and projects present short reports on their research accomplishments over the past year.

  • Third Space Lab:  Chunyuan Sheng & Aya Lahlou* and Hong Pham*
  • Shanghai Refugee Project: Leiyuan Tian
  • Health Humanities Lab
  • Knowledge Networks: Xiaoliang Yang and Wanying He
  • PETAL: Yuchen Cao and Elva Yu
  • Bird Collision Prevention Project: Tianyu Zhang, Nancy Zhu, Shuyuan Zhou, Xin Xiong, and Jessica Song

1800 Onsite Dinner

Saturday, November 13

1000 Keynote Lecture: WANG Jianbao

The Confucian Entrepreneur: Past, Present, Future

My lecture focuses on the figure of the “Confucian entrepreneur” (rushang 儒商) as a real-world embodiment of the Confucian ideal of self-cultivation. On one hand, the Confucian sagely ideal, however, is a transcendental one, which few (if any) individuals truly attain; moreover, exemplary entrepreneurs who might be thought to qualify as rushang have typically refrained from self-identifying as such. On the other hand, Wang Yangming’s famous dictum that “scholars, farmers, artisans and merchants pursue different occupations, but share a common Dao” (yiye er tongdao 異業而同道) reminds us that the Confucian Way is open to all, businesspeople and non-businesspeople alike. In this talk I investigate some models of Confucian entrepreneurs from axial age to the second millennium and now with an outlook for more ethical and more effective new business civilization in the future by rediscovering the core value of Confucius i.e. humanity (ren 仁) with a perspective of spiritual humanism rather than secular humanism.

1130 Lunch

1300 Student Seminar with CAO Fei (pre-registration required) | IB1050

1300 Student Seminar with WANG Jianbao (pre-registration required) | IB1051

1430 Freedom Lab Plenary Panel on Scholarship in COVID Era

Initiated in 2020, The Freedom Lab has always worked under the restrictions created by the Covid 19 Pandemic. In this panel, we will discuss the work and research projects conducted by the freedom lab during the pandemic. We will further discuss the implications of the pandemic for research. With archives closed and travel for fieldwork limited, students and researchers must find innovative new ways to conduct research, that is to create new forms of intellectual “freedom,” in the midst of the “unfreedoms” created by Covid.

1530 Launch of Doc Lab
Professors Kolleen Guy, Seth Henderson and Kaley Clements introduce the Humanities Research Center’s newest lab focusing on documentary.

1600 Tea Break

1630 Keynote Lecture: CAO Fei

Behind the Scenes: Cao Fei in conversation with Zairong Xiang. NB this conversation will take place in Chinese. An English interpretation will be available via Zoom.

Winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (2021) among other prestigious awards, Cao Fei  is an internationally-renowned Chinese contemporary artist. Her works reflect on the rapid and developmental changes that are occurring in Chinese society today and consistently focus on the question of labor in them through film, video, photography, and other media. The keynote conversation between artist Cao Fei and DKU professor Zairong Xiang, will discuss the questions raised in her art and take us on a journey “behind the scenes” of her artistic practice to her filming in the “world factories” of the Pearl River Delta area for her film Whose Utopia (2006); and to the intricate world of logistics that recent Sci-Fi film Asia One and documentary 11.11 focuse on. These two 2018 films were filmed in Kunshan itself and will be shown on Thursday, November 11th 2021 on campus (IB Auditorium).

1800 Onsite Dinner

1930 Post-Conference Film and Discussion: That’s Not How I Remember It

That’s Not How I Remember It is a one-night event celebrating Akira Kurosawa’s 1951 film Rashomon, which is widely credited for “introducing Japanese cinema to the West.” On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of its release, join us for a discussion of Rashomon’s outsized impact on global filmmaking norms and foreign perceptions of Japanese culture. That’s Not How I Remember It will involve a public screening of Rashomon (in Japanese with English subtitles), followed by a roundtable discussion with scholars Yan Ni (Japan Institute of the Moving Image), Paul Anderer (Columbia University), and Richard Davis (DKU).

Aesthetic analysis of therapeutic urban green space in Shanghai

This project examines aesthetic features supporting therapeutic urban green space in Shanghai. Urban green space promotes public health by providing a therapeutic opportunity in nature, and its therapeutic impacts have been identified in many cities. Although aesthetic beauty contributes to therapeutic impacts of green space, however, we still know little about features of aesthetic and therapeutic urban green space. Thus, this research analyzes these features by eliciting public preferences in Shanghai and applying a machine learning approach. This research would help policymakers to promote public health by identifying potential features of therapeutic urban green space. Continue reading “Aesthetic analysis of therapeutic urban green space in Shanghai”

Student-lead Public Health Ethics Research Project

This project has two stages, where the philosophical portion of the literature review is done prior to beginning the next stage. Research through literature review, participating in discussions regarding the readings, potential research questions that are applicable to COVID-19 pandemics, and will complete a research paper for publication or presentation. The paper will focus on the historical and ethical dimensions of disease controls, such as quarantine and contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemics from the aspects of individual liberty, state power, and the general welfare. The diversity of disease controls across the countries from different political systems, as well as different approaches and steps of enforcing the controls offer a great area of exploring its ethical and legal implications. We hope to investigate areas within public health ethics, which often emphasizes the state’s obligation to protect the health and general welfare of the population at hand. This would lead to further exploration of biopolitics, and how much individual liberty is valued by the various states. Continue reading “Student-lead Public Health Ethics Research Project”

Ovarian Cancer Documentary

Ovarian cancer, known to be the most lethal gynecologic cancer, is the leading type of cancer death in women worldwide. However, the most recent year in the study saw more decreases in funding for research on ovarian cancer than for research on other cancers. In addition, there is a huge critical knowledge discrepancy between patients and health professionals, and therefore raising public awareness of ovarian cancer is important. We aim to raise public awareness and highlight the need of more scientific research funds on ovarian cancer by filming a documentary. The documentary will include interviews that would mainly focus on how ovarian cancer influences patients’, doctors’ and scientific researchers’ lives. Meanwhile, we are looking into potential solutions by conducting scientific research in both Professor Tsigou and Professor Zhang-Negriere’s lab. Under the professional guidance of Professor Henderson, the documentary will showcase the tangible experiences of the patients involved and how each stakeholder plays an important role in this issue. The end of the day, the public will be informed on the ongoing issues with ovarian cancer and in turn support on relevant initiatives. Continue reading “Ovarian Cancer Documentary”

Can Chinese accurately recognize pain from foreigners’ facial expressions?

Facial expression is a crucial nonverbal channel of pain communication that is often incorporated in clinical assessment and treatment. It is known that underestimation of minorities’ facial expressions of pain would lead to further racial disparities in pain care. However, research so far has been mainly conducted in Western countries. Little is known about how pain is assessed through facial expressions in other sociocultural contexts and the influences of race. Therefore, the primary aim of this research is to address this gap by focusing on how foreign patients’ facial expressions of pain are decoded in Chinese society. An online experiment will be conducted to examine Chinese participants’ evaluation of foreigners’ pain intensity and authenticity through their facial expressions. An additional aim of the project is to investigate possible underlying mechanisms by studying the Chinese participants’ pain beliefs and empathy. Such data will show the racial-related propensity of the decoding of pain expressions, which will reduce the risk of misunderstanding foreign patients’ pain and improve cross-cultural pain assessment and treatment. Continue reading “Can Chinese accurately recognize pain from foreigners’ facial expressions?”