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

Humanities Fall Conference

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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.

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 inported from the west and remarkably leaving the traces of immitation 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 approac
  • 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 and Aya Lahlou*
  • Shanghai Refugee Project: Leiyuan Tian
  • Health Humanities Lab
  • Knowledge Networks: Xiaoliang Yang and Wanying He
  • PETAL: Yuchen Cao and Elva Yu

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).

Third Space Lab at SIETAR USA 2020 Conference

Recently, the three co-directors of the Third Space Lab presented at SIETAR USA to discuss the adaptations of their lab (its research agenda, workshops, training of research assistants, etc.) to the online context, in a session entitled Fostering Perspective Transformation in Third Spaces in Virtual Settings.

International education took an undeniable hit with Covid-19 and its consequences on mobility. While many institutions contemplate the possibility of offering in-person courses, others are reflecting on hybrid models or fully online programs to welcome their students this fall. A consequence of the situation is that pre-departure programs for study abroad sojourns and orientation for international freshmen, when not simply canceled, saw themselves reduced to the bare minimum. Rooted in the interventionist paradigm, which challenges the “immersion myth” that simply being abroad leads to positive intercultural growth and other deep changes, this Ned Talk addresses the virtual adaptations to interventions developed by a humanities research lab, the Third Space Lab(TSL) at a Sino-American higher education institution.

In light of uncertainty regarding study abroad semester for Chinese and international juniors to go to the US, as well as the arrival of incoming freshmen on campus in China, the Third Space Lab moved online to optimize students’ intercultural experiences by offering a series of online workshops, a series of online guest lectures, cultural events, and other resources for various cohorts of students. The virtual workshops address a series of topics including (1) learning about the host culture by creating their own research projects abroad, (2) learning how to reflect, (3) learning strategies for meaningful intercultural encounters, and (4) learning strategies for managing conflict experienced in their intercultural encounters. Guest lectures and cultural events showcase translingual and multicultural Third Spaces stories and encourage students to reflect on their own international education experience in cultural hybridity.

Showcasing TSL’s various virtual events, this Ned Talk addressed the conceptual and practical applications of Transformative Learning via intercultural sensitivity and Third Space personae development principles, as well as via conflict resolution.

For more information about these adaptations, you can watch the recording here:

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”

Undergraduate Conference 2020 Relaunches in September

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak, the undergraduate humanities research conference was postponed. Today we are happy to announce that the Humanities Research Center has decided to hold the conference from September 18 – 20, 2020.

The conference will be combined with our annual Fall conference, featuring keynote speeches, faculty panels, as well as student panels. Undergraduate students from universities in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan are welcome to present papers on all topics broadly within the humanities and interpretive social sciences; the papers need not relate to the conference theme.


By April 30: Submit your application online. Applications must be written in English, and will require a paper title and an abstract (max 300 words). Each student may make only one application.

Abstract Writing Workshop
Monday April 27
9PM China Time / 9AM EST
Zoom Meeting ID: 695 290 0771

Note: If you have already submitted an abstract, there is no need to resubmit unless you want to revise what you previously submitted. For those who submit multiple abstracts, only the most recent one will be considered.
Continue reading “Undergraduate Conference 2020 Relaunches in September”

Hum/Animal: Undergraduate Humanities Research Conference Call for Papers

Please note that due to the uncertain health situation in China, the undergraduate humanities research conference has been postponed. We hope to hold the conference once the situation returns to normal.

Duke Kunshan University is pleased to announce its second Undergraduate Humanities Research Conference from March 13-15, 2020. Distinguished keynote speakers will speak on the conference theme of hum/animal.

Students may present papers on all topics broadly within the humanities and interpretive social sciences; they need not relate to the conference theme.

Panels will be formed around themes based on the applications. Continue reading “Hum/Animal: Undergraduate Humanities Research Conference Call for Papers”

Report: Josephine Ho on Sexual Politics in the Age of Globalization

By Sinan Farooqui

The first keynote lecture for the Duke Kunshan University Fall Conference 2019: The Future of the Humanities: The Gender/Sex Turn was led by Professor Josephine Ho, the chair of the English department of National Central University, Taiwan, and coordinator of its Center For the Study of Sexualities, who spoke on the topic of Gender as Governance: Sexual Politics in the Age of Globalization. Continue reading “Report: Josephine Ho on Sexual Politics in the Age of Globalization”

Yingying Huang on Changing Sexualities in Mainland China since the 1980s

The second keynote address held at the DKU Fall Conference: Future of the Humanities: The Gender/Sex Turn 人文学的未来:性/别转向” was given by Yingying Huang on the topic of Changing Sexualities in Mainland China since the 1980s. Professor Huang is Associate Professor of Sociology, and Director of the Institute of Sexuality and Gender at Renmin University of China. Her work focuses on female sex workers, women’s body and sexualities, social aspects of HIV/AIDS, and qualitative methodology. Continue reading “Yingying Huang on Changing Sexualities in Mainland China since the 1980s”


作者:于明鑫 & 朱润洲 

何春蕤教授是台湾国立中央大学的讲席教授(Chair Professor)和荣誉教授(Professor Emeritus),是远东最前卫的性别研究学者之一。她广泛而又立场鲜明地研究很多焦点问题,从1990年开始,她便在她所处的地区倡导有关女性性行为、性别与性教育、酷儿研究、性工作者研究、跨性研究的积极观点。她创建并继续领导着以其持久并卓有成效的智囊作用和社会实干主义而闻名的国立中央大学性/别研究室。她最近的研究集中于记录与分析在不断加强的良性、文明的全球治理体系下,不断增长的非传统性行为法制化趋势。 Continue reading “听何春蕤教授讲性别政治”


作者:朱伦稷 & Eldar Wang



第二个原因是,从她的语气与词措里,我能感觉到她的“试探”。这里的学生对性学的接受度到底如何?说到哪个程度,才是又能被理解又不失原意的?黄盈盈教授的词措越是小心,我越感受到她这些年在中国做性学会议汇报与田野调查的不容易,越对她感到钦佩。 Continue reading “直面上世纪八十年代以来“性”的流变-在中国做性学研究”


作者:赖効祺 &朱润洲

9月20-21日我校人文研究中心筹办的“人文学的未来:性/别转向”主题活动邀请到了著名学者何春蕤教授、黄盈盈教授、甯应斌教授与《琥珀》作者闻⼈人悦阅作专题讲座。讲座主题涉及“Gender as Governance”、“Changing Sexualities”、“Sex Work and Modernity”、“Commonsense Morality in History”等。我有幸参加了整个活动,而印象尤为深刻的,是甯应斌教授的主题演讲。 Continue reading “探讨性工作与现代性–记甯应斌教授9月21日主题演讲”