Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce the establishment of an Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab, to be co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Center and the Data Science Research Center.

All faculty, staff and students are invited to an information session on Wednesday February 24 from 3-4pm in IB2025 (the recording is now available to watch online). A Zoom link will be provided to those who register for the event and are off campus. To register for the information session please fill out the survey here or scan the QR code.

Summary

The Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab (IKNL) is proposed as a collaborative network to facilitate research into knowledge architecture, metaknowledge, epistemology, semantic processing, knowledge network analysis and knowledge visualization at DKU. Researchers will use big data analysis, philosophical inquiry, and digital humanities methods to investigate how knowledge is structured, represented, analyzed, modeled, theorized and visualized. They will also draw on emerging research in biosemantics regarding the neurological structures that enable linguistic processing to take place in the brain. In addition to these broad theoretical issues in knowledge architecture and engineering, the lab will aim to make a concrete contribution to the analysis and visualization of knowledge production at DKU, Duke or other universities. These include:

  • tools to assess how universities’ research and teaching missions are aligned
  • methods to assess what universities are contributing to the development of human knowledge
  • applications for analyzing, classifying and visualizing knowledge production at universities
  • proposals for how knowledge can be related, synthesized, recombined, or repurposed across disciplines and fields

At the same time, as a vertically-integrated lab, students at various stages in their careers will work with faculty at various stages of their careers in order to share ideas, and build a research and training cluster that will support the mission of the whole university in terms of knowledge innovation and scientific discovery.

Reading Group

The lab will recruit students at an orientation session on February 24. Lab members will then meet weekly in session four in a reading group to deepen their interdisciplinary knowledge in areas related to lab’s mission. These could  include:

  • algorithms for natural language processing and semantic analysis in English and Chinese
  • taxonomy of knowledge as trees, hierarchies, networks or other structures
  • visualization of knowledge networks
  • network models
  • analysis of research paper metadata, citations etc
  • development of applications for academic institutional assessment and analysis
  • biosemantics and cognitive neuroscience
  • social / political implications of the above

This process of building up a cross-disciplinary body of research and training at DKU will enable to lab to support the development of signature work projects in Data Science, Computation and Design, Ethics and Leadership, and Behavioral Science. It will also support the work of faculty researchers whose work lies at the intersection of philosophy of mind, neuroscience, data science, ethics and society. Towards the end of the spring semester the lab members will work on the development of specific research projects and seek funding to carry them out beginning in the summer and fall.

Core Leaders

Charles Chang, Assistant Professor of Environment and Urban Studies

Prof. Chang’s research interest hinges on the intersections between computation and design. With the rise of smartphones and other internet-connected devices, design choices become increasingly data-driven and dependent on information’s credibility in the construction of the human habitat. Chang’s research focuses on human habitat design, environmental impact, and information credibility in the big-data age. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include computational social science, digital humanities, and urban informatics.

Wanying He, (student co-director), DKU’22

Wanying He is an undergraduate of the class of 2022 majoring in Data Science. Her research interests lie in knowledge architecture, natural language processing, semantic analysis and modeling, and the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity.

Sze Chai Kwok, Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Prof. Kwok’s research lies at the intersection among neuroscience, behavior, and psychology. He is head of the Laboratory of Phylo-Cognition and his research team studies the neural bases of episodic memory, metacognition, and other related higher cognitive processes in the primate species. Elucidation of such intricate brain/mind/behavior relationships is attained by armamentaria of methods including multimodal neuroimaging, in vivo electrophysiology, neuromodulatory methods, state-of-the-art behavioral paradigms and computational techniques. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include topics within cognitive neuroscience, behavioral sciences, and psychology.

James Miller (faculty co-director), Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Strategy

James Miller is known worldwide as a scholar of Daoism and Ecology. He has published three monographs and four edited volumes, and his writing has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese and Farsi. He is Professor of Humanities, co-director of the Humanities Research Center, and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Strategy at Duke Kunshan University.

Ivan Mura, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ivan Mura has a computer science background and a passion for interdiscilinary applications of modeling. His research interests focus on techniques and applications of predictive and prescriptive data analytics to artificial and living systems, and the integration of measurement data into axiomatic modeling.

Daniel Weissglass, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Daniel Weissglass has two major research programs: the fundamentals of cognition; and science, health, and technology policy. The fundamentals of cognition program explores intersections between philosophy and the cognitive sciences to improve our understanding of the mind and its operations. His science, health, and technology policy research explores ethical, epistemic, and political challenges arising from contemporary advances in technology and develops policy recommendations to address these challenges.

Registration

To register for. the information session please fill out the survey here or scan the QR code.

Spring Writing Retreat

During the break between the two Spring sessions, the Humanities Research Center and the Center for the Study of Contemporary China will collaborate to offer an intensive writing retreat from Monday 15 to Friday 19 March. The aim is to offer time and space for DKU faculty to make serious progress on an important project and to foster interdisciplinary dialogue and discussion.

The retreat will take place in a quiet location (TBD) in Jiangsu not too far from Kunshan. Transport from and to DKU, meals, and accommodation will be provided by the two research centers. Faculty are expected to work on their writing projects during the day. An optional light exercise activity such as a walking tour will be offered in the afternoon. Faculty will be grouped into small thematic clusters and invited to discuss their research with their colleagues after dinner in the evening. Each center will fund eight to ten faculty, who will be expected to participate for the full five days.

Eligibility

All DKU faculty working on writing projects broadly related to arts and humanities, interpretive social sciences or contemporary China are eligible to apply. Faculty working on equivalent projects in creative arts, such as editing a film, are also eligible to apply. Priority will be given to tenure-track professors who will make substantial progress on an project relevant to their eventual tenure application. Other applications will be considered if space permits.

Application Process

Applications are due via Qualtrics form by January 31. Faculty will be asked to briefly describe their project, its state of completion, its significance for their research career, and the concrete goals that they hope to achieve by the end of the retreat. Decisions will be made by the center directors and announced within one week.

Further Information

For further information, please contact James Miller, co-director of the Humanities Research Center, or Keping Wu, co-director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China.

2020-2021 Call for Funding 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 Chi Zhang (chi.zhang323@dukekunshan.edu.cn), administrative assistant for the Humanities Research Center, by December 15.

Small Events

The HRC will fund a number of small-scale events, which could take the form of workshops, reading groups, film screenings and discussions, excursions, and so forth. Experimentation and innovation is encouraged, and applications may be submitted by either individuals or by groups of collaborators. All DKU and Duke faculty affiliates may apply.

A complete proposal (max 5 pages single-spaced) should include a title, a description of the research question, a summary of the activities to be undertaken, a list of collaborators to be invited (with brief bios), a description of anticipated outcomes, and a budget. The maximum contribution from the HRC for each small event is $5,000.

Large Events

The HRC will also fund at least one larger-scale event, which could take the form of a workshop, a lecture series, a curatorial project, and so forth. Experimentation and innovation is encouraged, and applications may be submitted by either individuals or by groups of collaborators. All DKU and Duke faculty affiliates may apply.

A complete proposal (max 5 pages single-spaced) should include a title, a description of the topic/research question, a summary of the activities to be undertaken, a list of collaborators to be invited (with brief bios), a description of anticipated outcomes, and a budget. The maximum contribution from the HRC for a large event is $20,000.

Manuscript Workshops

The HRC will fund one or more faculty book manuscript workshops, which provide a structure for generating constructive, informed criticism on near-final book manuscripts. The goal is to transform already excellent scholarly projects into superior published works, and the Center will provide funding (generally up to $5,000) for faculty to invite two experts in their field and an acquisitions editor from a major scholarly press to DKU or Duke. During a half-day workshop, these guests present their thoughts on the manuscript, followed by a response from the author and a general discussion. All DKU faculty working on humanities projects may apply.

A complete proposal should include a title, a synopsis of the book project, a draft of the introduction, a list of suggested invitees (including both outside scholars and local participants), and specification of which press the applicant would like to invite.

Kunshan Digital Humanities 2020 Project Proposals

The Humanities Research Center is currently accepting individual or group project proposals for the 2020-2021 academic year.

In 2019-2020 pilot project we:

  • Recruited students to create original artworks in any medium in and and around Kunshan in Fall 2019
  • Developed a database index for an archive of artworks and other media related to Kunshan
  • Curated an online exhibition of student artworks in Spring 2020

Continue reading “Kunshan Digital Humanities 2020 Project Proposals”

Hum/Animal: Humanities Fall Conference Program

Hum/Animal is the theme of the Humanities Research Center’s fall conference and student film festival, which takes place from September 18-20 on the campus of Duke Kunshan University, and via Zoom.

The conference comprises five elements:

  • Keynote speeches by leading experts on the relationship between humans and other animals, from a range of perspectives, including bioart, philosophy, sociology and cultural studies
  • Parallel sessions featuring the research of new and returning DKU faculty in the humanities and social sciences
  • Parallel sessions featuring the research of undergraduate students from DKU and other universities, chosen via highly selective peer review process
  • Parallel sessions featuring the work of DKU’s Humanities Research Labs
  • A student film festival curated by Kaley Clements

Continue reading “Hum/Animal: Humanities Fall Conference Program”

Kunshan Digital City of Arts and Culture: Recruitment

Kunshan Digital City of Arts and Culture is an initiative of the Humanities Research Center’s Kunshan Digital Humanities project.

In our pilot project, 2019-2020, we asked DKU students to create works of art in and around Kunshan. Students photographed Kunshan’s changing architecture, created original works of performance art, reenacted historical dramas, made a documentary about hairy crabs, visited local residents and interviewed them in their homes, learned about Kunshan’s internationalization, and sent drones into Kunshan’s night sky. Then we loaded all their work into a GIS database to create a virtual tour of Kunshan that we launched on June 5. 

We are recruiting new students to join the project as artists, researchers, database developers, and app developers. If you are interested in participating, please register your interest here.

Duke Kunshan Students in Conversation on Interdisciplinary Themes

Recently, the Humanities Research Center organized a series of conversations on the theme of interdisciplinarity and innovation. James Miller, co-director of the Humanities Research Center and Associate Dean of Interdisciplinary Strategy joined with students from the HumanSpace+ research group in conversation with four distinguished practitioners of interdisciplinary research.

Following the conversations, the students in the HumanSpace+ group penned their thoughts about the conversations. Continue reading “Duke Kunshan Students in Conversation on Interdisciplinary Themes”