Gender+ | Revolutionary Women’s Practice to Bury Colonialism

Please join us for an engaging lecture presented by Professor Elizabeth Armstrong on November 7, 2023, from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM at the IB 1047. If you have questions about this event, please email Prof. Megan Rogers, Ph.D.(megan.c.rogers@duke.edu) or Prof. Jesse Olsavsky(jesse.olsavsky@dukekunshan.edu.cn) or Prof. Hyun Jeong Ha, Ph.D.(hyunjeong.ha@dukekunshan.edu.cn).

Light refreshments will be provided.

We look forward to your participation in this enlightening event.

The Professional Divide Between Writing & Language Studies in the US: History, Epistemology, and Implications for DKU

Date and Time: Friday, Nov.3rd 2023 11:00am -noon

Location: AB 2101

Speaker: Dr. Tyler J. Carter w/an addendum by Laura Davies (LCC)

Abstract: Is there a difference between teaching writing as a language and teaching writing as a process? The short answer is yes, there is and this difference matters. In this presentation I will contrast the socio-historical development of (English) writing and language instruction in the United States via a discussion of the development of the audio-lingual approach to language instruction, US higher education reform in the 1960’s, and the development of the process approach to writing. Essentially, I argue, the contrasting epistemological commitments of language and writing studies, perhaps best exemplified by language standards and expressivist writing; in conjunction with the pressures of professionalization, has prevented the consolidation of knowledge across these closely related fields. Broadly, this work has curricular and pedagogical implications for writing instruction as well as implications for the ways our professional commitments shape our teaching and research. As an addendum to this presentation, Laura Davies will discuss how this material relates to the British system of writing and language and why all of this has particular importance within the context of LCC and DKU.

GSI Presents a Talk: White Man Walking

On Wednesday November 8th from 18:00-19:30,  join us at the IB 1046 for a talk by Wibke Schniedermann from Ghent University, “White Man Walking: Unhoused Lives and the Gendered Mobility of the Road”. In collaboration with the Gender Studies Initiative, Schnierdermann will discuss narrative and visual forms to show how “the road” consolidates the gendered meanings of feminized domesticity and masculinized mobility at the same time as it affirms the urban-rural divide in the American spatial imaginary. 

Student Report on the Screening and Discussion of “The Battle of Chile”

By Felipe Silvestri

On Friday, September 15th, the Film Society hosted a screening of Patricio Guzmán’s The Battle of Chile: Part I. The movie selection was motivated by the 50th anniversary of the 1973 Chilean coup d’état orchestrated by the Chilean military in conjunction with the U.S. It inaugurated a bloody 17-year-long dictatorship whose repercussions are still felt today. Although 50 years may seem like a distant past, the contemporaneity of the topic is evident, considering that, as recently as 2020, Chile still operated under the Constitution drafted during the dictatorship. Attendees were briefed on the historical context through a presentation on Latin America during the Cold War, highlighting key events that led up to 1973.

The Film Society believes DKU’s multidisciplinarity extends beyond the classroom and into the extracurricular activities we host. Guzmán’s documentary brings film, history, and political science together seamlessly, while focusing on his subjects’ lives. The screening was an opportunity for students to learn more about a region oftentimes forgotten by our discussions and events. Although South America is geographically distant from China, both regions share a similar history during the Cold War. Located in the periphery, they were heavily influenced by the overbearing influence of the bipolar world order shared by the United States and the Soviet Union. The artistic direction chosen by Guzmán also allowed the spectator to peer into interviewees’ lives, so as to not forget that people were at front and center of the coup d’état. Listening to people’s perspectives on the turvy political climate of the country in the months leading up to the coup added a human component to the documentary.

Many of the viewers were not knowledgeable about the history of Chile during these years, so it proved to be a very informative screening for them. The pre-movie debriefing also helped situate them in the broad events occurring throughout the region during the Cold War. Although we did not have any Chilean participants, our fellow students from Latin American shared their personal views and how the Chilean story unfolded in similar ways to how their countries fared during the same period. Viewers were shocked to see the dirty war waged by the opposition against the Salvador Allende government, may it be through hoarding supplies or blocking the government agenda. Most of the attendees were pleasantly surprised by the jovial manner Guzmán portrayed the everyday people in Chile through the street interviews he conducted in 1973.

The discussion component of the event proved to be crucial to the educational component of the screening. Seeing as the documentary touched on many different subjects, the discussion allowed for viewers to share their opinions and discuss their views on how it relates to their personal and national experiences. The movie’s ending was a focal point for discussion. In a prelude to the actual coup on September 11th, 1973, the military revolted in mid-1973. On the ground, Guzmán and his crew followed the events. As one of the cameramen was recording the soldiers on the streets, he was shot. Immediately after, the screen faded to black, and the lights turned on. The cliffhanger, both for the cameraman and the documentary, surely left a strong impression on spectators, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats, eager to delve deeper into the riveting narrative presented by Patricio Guzmán. Due to it being only part I of the documentary, the cutoff instigated most viewers into asking the Film Society to host screenings for the other two parts.

We would like to use this space to express our gratitude to the Documentary Lab and the Humanities Research Center for sponsoring our event and enabling us to offer an interdisciplinary, multifaceted approach to literature, cinema, politics, and history. We hope to screen the other two parts of the documentary and, perhaps, host a discussion with professors knowledgeable about the topic or the Third Cinema movement, to which Guzmán belonged.

Museum Collections in Extended Reality

Join us October 26th 9:00AM – 10:00 AM BJT with guest speaker Dr. Yue Li from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University.

In her talk, “Museum Collections in Extended Reality: Explorations on 3D Artifact Interaction and Manipulation Techniques in Virtual Reality and Tangible Interfaces using Augmented Reality” Dr. Yue Li will explore the use of VR and AR in paving a new, modern museum viewing experience.

Zoom Link: https://duke.zoom.us/j/5209607561
Meeting ID: 5209607561

Gender+Household

Please join us for an engaging discussion with Professors Yu Wang and Titas Chakraborty on October 25, 2023, from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM at the Water Pavilion. Don’t forget to stay connected and receive future updates by joining the GSI group chat!

Light refreshments will be provided.

We look forward to your participation in this enlightening event.

Report on Reading Group for “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education”

The DKU faculty, staff, and students were invited on Friday, October 13th to our first reading group on the topic of “Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education.” As the first event in a series, the primary topic of discussion was based on the book chapter “Pedagogic Framework for Interrupting Heteronormativity” by Michael Seal. This text was selected because it provides an overview of how heteronormativity has traditionally been challenged in higher education. It begins by examining the use of self as a pedagogic tool, followed by the exploration of post-gay and post-closet discourses, critical pedagogy, and queer pedagogy. The chapter concludes by examining two relevant debates within queer pedagogy: whether heterosexuality can be queered and whether straight people can queer it.

The event received a positive response, drawing approximately 20 participants, including both DKU faculty members and students from diverse backgrounds. Within the one-hour event, attendees read the book chapter together, reviewed the similarities and differences between critical and queer pedagogy, and exchanged their insights stemming from the concepts and their own teaching and learning experiences. During the discussion, a student participant posed a compelling question concerning the preparedness of professors in higher education with regards to these pedagogical methods. Unfortunately, the attending faculty members shared that this reading group was the only opportunity they had for professional development.

The event was organized by Zhenjie Weng, Assistant Professor of English Language Education, and Yanan Zhao, Senior Lecturer of English for Academic Purposes, from the Language and Culture Center. The event was sponsored by the Humanities Research Center, which covered the fees for event promotion and refreshments for attendees.

Student Report on a Book Talk by Huaiyu Chen: In the Land of Tigers and Snakes: Living with Animals in Medieval Chinese Religions.

By Zu (Zuo Rui) Gan

On the 12th of October, the CARE lab, the Humanities Research Centre, and the “Meanings, Identities, and Communities” cluster from the Centre for the Study of Contemporary China invited Dr Huaiyu Chen to present on his book about the relationship between animals and humans during the time of medieval Chinese religions. Dr Chen is a renowned scholar on Chinese Buddhism and is an Associate Professor in the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. A total of 22 students and 6 faculty attended the talk.

Dr Chen first brought up the history and context of Animal Studies. He pointed out that previous scholars had termed Christianity as an anthropogenic religion, and posed the question if Chinese religions were the same. Although Buddhist texts claimed to not harm any living beings, there were other contesting instances. He also highlighted the importance of understanding that although religious texts might portray one thing, the lived experience of the people might be different, emphasizing the gap between the canonical principle and the local understanding and approach. Hence, he stressed the importance of understanding the various social and political contexts and histories in place of these religions and cautioned against depicting Chinese religions as solely being against animal cruelty or emphasizing harmony between humans and animals.

Dr Chen further illustrated his point by providing sources where tigers were captured and pacified by various ruling groups such as the Buddhists, Daoists and the State. In fact, taming animals were often used as a way to showcase the legitimacy and power of a body. With claims of being able to tame tigers, the emerging Buddhists could upset the power balance of the local rulers and claim more followers and legitimacy. Another example Dr Chen provided of the complexities of human-animal relations in medieval Chinese religions was by providing visual evidence from the Dahuang caves, where depictions of humans riding and ruling over animals were commonplace. These depictions were not only uncovered in the past, and Dr Chen showed us modern-day statues of humans and arhats taming animals as well.

Dr Chen also brought up the interesting question of if animals can obtain enlightenment. In his research, he found certain texts claiming that the parrot would be able to achieve enlightenment because of it’s ability to talk. Since it could talk, it could theoretically chant and recite the Buddha’s name and thus eventually achieving nirvana, especially if viewed through the lens of Pure Land Buddhism.

During the Q&A section, some students expressed interest in understanding the relationship between animals and humans in Chinese tales such as the Journey from the West. Dr Chen ended his talk by highlighting that although there was no possible way to determine the agency and thoughts of animals, we can still glimpse the complex relations humans had with the animals that were present around them.

Health Humanities Initiative September Report

The Health Humanities Initiative has started a weekly meeting series since this Fall, to get faculty and students from different backgrounds together to discuss how health issues interact with the human experience.

Sept 6, 2023: Ice-break and theme exploration

In the first meeting, students each gave a brief introduction about their major background and potential topics they would like to explore in HHL. It was quite exciting that we had students from different fields: global health, anthropology, history, religion & philosophy, and biology. Students proposed several topics they were interested in, including how death is perceived in history and religions, the development of hospice in China, bereavement education, as well as the anthropological perspective of health’s definition. Considering students’ overlapped interests in death, we decided to mainly focus on death-related topics. We started our activity with students’ facilitation each week with no limitation on the forms and discussion between students and professors in order to explore different topics for further investigation.

Sept 13, 2023: Documentary Screening: My Last Summer

In this session, facilitated by Dong Ding, a sophomore student from Global Health major, we watched the first episode of My Last Summer, a BBC documentary that recorded the fears and hopes of five individuals diagnosed with terminal illnesses, with less than a year to live. They are brought together to spend four unforgettable weekends and share their thoughts and emotions about pain, religious beliefs, and the afterlife.

In the discussion, we talked about how different people’s attitudes are when facing death. One student mentioned this documentary provided us with an opportunity to gain a dynamic, holistic view of the dying ones as normal people with hobbies, passions, and emotions instead of being generalized as a group that can only perceive pain and pity. We also discussed the difference between dying and death with dying being a lengthy process while death happens instantaneously. In addition, we mentioned the essentialness of support from the secondary group, namely “similar others” when an individual is approaching death. As their closest family members and friends may not fully understand their feelings, having someone in similar situations to share their thoughts with can be very helpful in improving their well-being, which can be a part of hospice care.

Sept 20, 2023: Documentary & Lecture Screening: Death in Tibetan Buddhism and Philosophy

In the first section of our third meeting, facilitated by Jiachen Wu, a sophomore student in religion & philosophy, we watched a documentary about the Tibetan Book of the Dead and a lecture about death in philosophy. The documentary features the process of a Buddhist master trying to guide the soul of a dead man to achieve nirvana. It displays how death is optimistically perceived as a chance to escape from the circle of reincarnation and become a Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism. We discussed how death as an inevitable and positive component in Buddhism can help people learn about and accept the death of themselves and their loved ones. We also talked about the definition of compassion in Buddhism. Additionally, we compared the rituals for dead people, such as cremation, in diverse religious beliefs.

In the second section, we watched a lecture about philosophical questions about body and soul taught by Prof. Shelly Kagan from Yale University. Descartes’s argument is that if one can imagine the soul as an independent figure, then the soul can be independent of one’s body. However, in the video, Prof. Kagan argues that based on the phenomenological differences and dependence, which is the imagination of the dependent soul out of the body, should not be a valid and complete support for the duality of body and soul. He applied the example of morning stars and evening stars to further demonstrate this issue. The morning star and the evening star could appear independently, and actually only independently, while they are the same single planet. Therefore, Prof. Kagan proclaims that he himself doesn’t believe in the existence of the soul, no mention the rebirth based on that. In our discussion, we talked about the relevance between Descartes’s theory and Tibetan Buddhism. We also mentioned Venus and Aphrodite, the Roman and Greek forms of the same deity, an example of one soul in two bodies as a possible counterpoint of Descartes’s theory.

Sept 27, 2023: Presentation and discussion: Health Ethical Principles and Hospice

Ethan Tung, a sophomore student in Global Health/Public Policy, facilitated the discussion session and shed light on several ethical principles specifically applied in the medical field and the principles in a broader context. For medical ethics, the four pillars are autonomy (self-decision), beneficence (trying to improve the overall well-being and achieve the best outcome), non-maleficence (doing no harm and ensuring the treatment/decisions align with the patient’s interest), and justice (fair and equitable distribution). A shared characteristic of them is patient-centered. In broader ethics, the three major principles are utilitarianism, deontology, and absolutism. Utilitarianism is a type of consequentialism that focuses solely on the outcome of the decision. Deontology, the study of duty, applies laws to define what is right and wrong, does and don’ts. Absolutism emphasizes things that are unconditionally wrong regardless of the context and the consequence of the action, which is similar to non-maleficence in medical ethics. Ethan used stealing food to feed one’s hungry family members as an example. From the utilitarianists’ perspective, it is morally right because it can help the food feed more people and achieve better outcomes. However, to deontologists and absolutists, it is wrong because stealing causes harm to other people and is an illegal action. In our discussion, we compared the principles in two fields. We also looked into the international codes ethics of hospice care and found the interaction between the two theories. Codes ethics, as a result of the materialization of the ethical principles, is a linkage between application and the fundamental theories.