The Humanities Research Center Calls for Proposals

The DKU Humanities Research Center (HRC) invites proposals from all DKU/Duke faculty and affiliates working on humanities-related projects. Projects should be based at DKU and/or connect Duke and DKU faculty. Proposals should be sent to Eugenie Chao (, Senior Program Coordinator for the Humanities Research Center, by July 15, 2022.

  • Research Labs
  • Small Events
  • Large Events
  • Manuscript Workshop

Research Labs

Continue reading “The Humanities Research Center Calls for Proposals”

Student Report: Anthropocene XR Lab: A Beginner’s Guide to Unity Game Engine

Reported by Josh Manto, DKU Undergraduate Class of 2024

On the second of June 2022, the HRC Anthropocene Lab hosted a workshop on Unity Game Engine, a development platform often used for application, website, and game development. The workshop was facilitated by Leiyuan Tian and was taught by Tony Ren, both of whom are from the class of 23’. From covering basic interface navigation, understanding hierarchies, to more in-depth concepts like game physics and scripting, Tony and Leiyuan were successful in providing a beginner-friendly tutorial to Unity game engine.

Tony showing us the the preliminaries, which include downloading Unity Game Engine, and an IDE (integrated development environment) such as Visual Studio Code to write scripts. After downloading all preliminary software, Tony explains the basics: Continue reading “Student Report: Anthropocene XR Lab: A Beginner’s Guide to Unity Game Engine”

Congratulations to Prof Tyler Carter’s New Book Launch: “No Blame” – An Amorphous Digital Book of Poetry and Art

Tyler Carter

Congratulations to Professor Tyler Carter, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Writing at the Language and Culture Center at Duke Kunshan University!

No Blame, as Dr. Carter describes, is “an amorphous digital book of poetry and art, with text by [himself] and coding/artwork by Eric Goddard-Scovel. It consists of 64 pages, with 48 poems (i.e., 16 static original poems and 32 poems shuffled by algorithms partially derived from the casting of I Ching hexagrams) and 16 works of generative art.”

Generate your version of the book here: and read more about Dr. Carter’s book below:

Could you describe what I Ching refers to and how it inspired No Blame? What is the significance of the title? Continue reading “Congratulations to Prof Tyler Carter’s New Book Launch: “No Blame” – An Amorphous Digital Book of Poetry and Art”

Humanities Fall Conference: Ciencia y Caridad 科学与慈善

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce its fall conference, Ciencia y Caridad 科学与慈善(“Science and Charity”), based on Picasso’s painting of the same name, exhibited in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. The conference will be held in person in Barcelona on October 7-8, 2022 and will be accessible to the global DKU community via Zoom. Conference attendees are invited to a private viewing of the painting and a gala reception at the Picasso museum.

Register to receive Zoom information. Continue reading “Humanities Fall Conference: Ciencia y Caridad 科学与慈善”

Student Report: The Bird Collision Prevention Project

Reported by Shuyuan Zhou

Studies have shown that bird strikes on buildings are considered to be the second leading cause of bird deaths caused by humans. Birds may perish during the day without realizing the glass is there due to its reflectivity and permeability; at night, they may be attracted to the light and thus hit the glass. At Duke Kunshan University, most of the buildings have fully transparent glass structures, and many birds die as a result of collisions with the glass.

The Bird Collision Prevention Project, an interdisciplinary art and research project aims to have a comprehensive look at the bird collision problem at DKU, starting with its landmark, the Water Pavilion. We use artistic intervention on the glass architecture itself to create a colorful and warm barrier.  In Spring 2021, we’ve “turn the cage into a bird” by hanging a mixture of twines and yarns to divide the outer area of the Water Pavilion into 5x10cm intervals, which could effectively create a friendly alert to the avian visitation. The latent fluidity of the drooping yarns echoes the near-water position of the Water Pavilion, which might make the architecture and its natural surrounding a unity not by transparency but interference.

Continue reading “Student Report: The Bird Collision Prevention Project”

Congratulations to Professor Zach Fredman on his first book “The Tormented Alliance: American Servicemen and the Occupation of China, 1941-1949”

Zach Fredman

Congratulations to Professor Zach Fredman on his first book, The Tormented Alliance: American Servicemen and the Occupation of China, 1941–1949 (UNC Press, 2022). This book examines the U.S. military presence in China during World War II and the Chinese Civil War.

Read more about his book below:

Could you tell us about your new book and what inspired you to write it?

Like a lot of writers, I wrote the book I wanted to read. More than 120,000 American servicemen deployed to China during World War II and the Chinese Civil War, making this military presence the largest encounter between Americans and Chinese that ever occurred in China. But nearly all of the scholarship and popular writing on wartime U.S.-China relations focused on senior military commanders or diplomats. I wanted to learn about these soldiers, the Chinese people they interacted with, and how their day-to-day engagements influenced the larger politics of the Sino-U.S. alliance.

Continue reading “Congratulations to Professor Zach Fredman on his first book “The Tormented Alliance: American Servicemen and the Occupation of China, 1941-1949””

Call for Early Career Participants for CHCI/Mellon Global Humanities Institute on Climate Justice and Problems of Scale

The Global Humanities Institute on Climate Justice and Problems of Scale will occur at the University of Pretoria between July 29 and August 7, 2022. Virtual sessions will be held on July 30-31, August 1-2, and August 4-6.

The Institute is sponsored by the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes and funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. A limited number of positions are open for Early Career Scholars (untenured faculty, postdocs, and advanced graduate students) whose work engages climate justice and/or multiscalar analysis. Applications are requested as soon as possible. Please see the call for details: GHI Climate Justice 2022 CFP.

Questions about the Institute may be directed to: – Pauline Strong, for the six organizing institutions (U of Texas, U of Pretoria, American University at Beirut, Arizona State U, Carnegie Mellon U, U of Sydney)

Pauline Turner Strong | PI, CHCI Global Humanities Institute on Climate Justice & Problems of Scale
Director, Humanities Institute | Professor, Anthropology | Faculty Affiliate, Native American and Indigenous Studies
College of Liberal Arts | University of Texas at Austin

Weakening Strategies: Vattimo and Chinese Thought

Gianni Vattimo (1936–) is one of Europe’s foremost contemporary philosophers, whose work has had a lasting influence on a broad range of fields including sexuality, theology, art and politics. He is known chiefly for the idea of “weak thought” (pensiero debole), which aims to weaken the strong narration of Western metaphysics and the violence of dogmatic positions. From such “weakening strategies” develop an ethic and political philosophy that opposes totalitarianism and fascism, a project that Vattimo undertook personally as a Member of the European Parliament. In his later work, Vattimo also connected weak thought to themes of kenosis (self-emptying), sacrifice, and secularization in religious and theological studies. In an era that emphasizes might, power, and strength, now is precisely the time to pay attention to weakness as a philosophical concept and ethical value, and to do so in a globalized, even multipolar context. 

In this regard Chinese thought, and especially Daoist philosophy, can become a rich interlocutor with Vattimo’s philosophy. The Daode jing 道德經 emphasizes virtues of softness and passivity, stating that  “The soft and weak overcome the hard and strong (柔弱勝剛強).” The classical Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi, moreover, is known for his emphasis on perspectivalism, understanding the limits of knowledge, and critiquing those who claim to have a complete understanding of truth. Daoism and other forms of Chinese philosophy have an important role to play in investigating the concept of weakness, in conversation with Vattimo’s philosophical and ethical project. Continue reading “Weakening Strategies: Vattimo and Chinese Thought”