Call for Proposals Spring 2024

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 Fei Xu <> by October 15, 2023, with decisions to be announced by November 15, 2023.

All proposals should normally be designed to be completed by June 30, 2024.

  • Small Events
  • Large Events
  • Book Manuscript Workshops

Continue reading “Call for Proposals Spring 2024”

HRC launches Health Humanities initiative

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce the launch of a Health Humanities Initiative at DKU, led by Professors Daniel Weissglass and Meifang Chen.

The Health Humanities initiative provides an interdisciplinary research and practice space for students and faculty with a broad range of skills and interests to investigate how the human experience contributes to aspects of individual and population health. It builds on the earlier Health Humanities Lab which launched a number of successful projects in the first three years of the undergraduate program at DKU, and last year’s resilience initiative involving Professors Lijing Yan and Sze Chai Kwok, together with the present initiative co-directors.

The initiative hosts a regular weekly meeting on Wednesdays from 4-5pm in WDR2201.

If you are interested in joining the lab or have any great ideas, please contact the Lab co-Directors Prof. Meifang Chen (email: or Prof. Daniel Weissglass (email:

LGBTQ+ Reading Group

The HRC is pleased to announce the formation of an LGBTQ+ reading group, under the supervision of Professors Zhenjie Weng and Yanan Zhao. The reading group is organized around the topic of Embracing Diversity: Developing Cultural Competence for Inclusive Education with the LGBTQ+ Community.

The reading groups is aimed at DKU faculty, staff, and students who are interested in fostering inclusive education and developing cultural competence with the LGBTQ+ Community. Diversity, Equity, Inclusiveness, and Justice is an essential topic in academia. Despite its wide discussion in academia, at the practical level, it still poses a challenge for educators seeking to enhance their teaching practices. It is crucial to ensure that educational materials and curricula are inclusive, relevant, and engaging for all students while creating safe and inclusive learning environments. Continue reading “LGBTQ+ Reading Group”

James Miller appointed Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Library of Congress

James Miller, co-director of the Humanities Research Center, has been appointed  as a distinguished visiting scholar at The John W. Kluge Center of the LIbrary of Congress and will take up a four month residency there starting on September 5, 2023.

Main reading room of the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress

The Kluge Center annually brings top scholars and researchers into residence at the Library to distill wisdom from the library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers and the public. Scholars conduct research in the library and participate  in informal meetings with Members of Congress and Congressional staff on topics of mutual interest.

The topic of Professor Miller’s research is “Planetary Responsibility and the Spirit of Chinese Innovation.” It aims to draw on Chinese philosophical, religious and ethical thinking to develop a planetary ethic to guide responsible scientific and technological innovation with respect to space exploration and astrobiology.

“Carl Sagan famously asked whether we have the right to interfere in life on Mars, even if it is only microbial life,” noted Professor Miller. “I want to consider these questions of astrobiological ethics from a Chinese philosophical perspective. What can we learn from Chinese wisdom that may fruitfully guide the world as it explores space and searches for extraterrestrial life within our solar system and beyond?”

Professor Miller’s research will contribute to a forthcoming international conference that will be held at DKU in Spring 2024 on the topic of Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Outer Space. The conference, co-organized with DKU professor Ben Van Overmeire aims to bring Chinese and foreign scholars and scientists together to discuss the culture, ethics and values of space exploration and extraterrestrial life.


HRC presents LitFest 2023 from August 30 to September 2

Scan QR code to register

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce the program for our fall literary festival at DKU. The festival features four keynote speakers including authors and critics, and provides students with the opportunity to engage in small seminars with the keynote speakers over a two day conference on Friday and Saturday, September 1-2.

In addition, students can learn about the research labs and projects that are sponsored by the HRC. This is a good way to discover opportunities for research and to meet the faculty and students who are involved.

The festival also celebrates the launch of the new creative writing track as part of  the Global Cultural Studies major.

The conference will be preceded by two award-winning film screenings introduced by DKU students and will conclude with literary readings from DKU students, faculty and guests.

Register to attend the LitFest here by Monday 28 August at 9am.

Please note that the program may be subject to modification. Continue reading “HRC presents LitFest 2023 from August 30 to September 2”

HRC co-sponsors Three Dialogues in Italy and the Vatican

Last month the Humanities Research Center co-sponsored and participated in three cross-cultural dialogues in Italy. The first, at the Pari Center, brought academics from China, Europe and the USA together for a five days of intensive dialogue on East-West philosophy in relation to sustainability. Discussion sessions in the morning and afternoon were complemented by relaxed lunches and dinners at the local restaurant in the village of Pari, about 30km south of Siena.

The events in Pari were followed by two dialogues in Rome. The first took place at La Sapienza University in Rome, where the topic of east-west philosophical dialogue continued in the presence of faculty and graduate students in the Italian Institute for Oriental Studies.

The series of events culminated in a high-level two-day meeting at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS) inside the Vatican City, chaired by Cardinal Peter Turkson. This event was both cross-cultural and interdisciplinary, featuring economists from PASS and other institutions in dialogue with philosophers and other experts in Chinese culture. This Dialogue Between Civilizations on Global Commons invited academics to consider the underlying philosophical and ethical issues in the United Nations’ seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. DKU professor Xiang Zairong spoke on the topic of gender equality, and HRC co-director James Miller spoke on the topic of climate change.

As a result of the HRC’s co-sponsorship of these events, DKU was able to bring two students, Tianyu Zhang (DKU ‘24) and Siyu Wang (DKU ‘25) to participate in the events.

Ms. Wang said, “The conference in the Vatican City offered me a unique perspective on how critical issues such as the sustainable development goals set by the UN are discussed and addressed by a diverse range of stakeholders, each with their own backgrounds and employing various approaches.”

It was an invaluable experience for the students and the professors to join in the various dialogues and also to participate in a closed, high level event at the Vatican. The dialogues revealed profound philosophical differences regarding the underlying values embedded in the SDGs, and their interpretation within different civilizational frameworks. There was an intensive discussion on how key Chinese cultural concepts such as 仁 (ren; benevolence, humanity), 福 (fu; good fortune), 富 (fu; wealth) and 繁荣 (fanrong; flourishing) should play a role in articulating the SDGs within a Chinese context and might contribute to a more globalized discussion of the ethical values and worldview underpinning the transition to an ecologically sustainable civilization.  This demonstrated the necessity for further cross-cultural research among the world’s philosophies and religions on the topic of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.


Call for Proposals for Academic Year 2023-2024

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 James Miller <> by June 15, 2023, with decisions to be announced by July 1, 2023.

  • Small Events
  • Large Events
  • Book Manuscript Workshops

Continue reading “Call for Proposals for Academic Year 2023-2024”

Student Report on Women’s History Month Student Workshop

Reported by Vicky Yongkun Wu, Class of 2026

This workshop was part of the Women’s History Month 2023 events organized by the HRC’s Gender Studies Initiative. 

The Women’s History Month Student Workshop 2023, hosted by Professor Titas Chakraborty, focused on 9 student papers. On Friday April 21, after Professor James Miller’s opening remarks, student presenters, who were accordingly distributed to three panels, gender in China, women and conflict, and feminism and media, were given approximately 10 minutes to introduce their projects, followed by professors’ comments and the Q&A session. The wide range of gender topics covered in the workshop was impressive and truly enhanced gender studies at DKU. Continue reading “Student Report on Women’s History Month Student Workshop”


The Humanities Research Center Religion+ Group is pleased to announce its forthcoming conversation, Religion+Violence, featuring DKU professors Bryce Beemer and Hyun Jeong Ha.

Where: Water Pavilion
When: Tuesday April 18, from 6-7:30pm.

Drinks and snacks will be provided.