Student Report: Religion and Politics – An Interdisciplinary Conversation

This Interdisciplinary Conversation was part of “Religion and Politics,” presented by the Humanities Research Center and the Division of Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with the Undergraduate Studies program.

Reported by Mateja Bokan, Class of 2026

The Religion and Politics lecture and discussion were the first opportunity for DKU students in Barcelona to experience the offerings of the University and the Humanities Research Center. Divided into two parts, the guest lecture and a live discussion, students were able to apply, reevaluate, and extend their knowledge on secularization using Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan as an example of how politics and religion work together in our society. Continue reading “Student Report: Religion and Politics – An Interdisciplinary Conversation”

Student Report: Robert Yelle – Thomas Hobbes’s Radical Path to Secularization

This special lecture was part of “Religion and Politics” presented by the Humanities Research Center and the Division of Arts and Humanities, in collaboration with the Undergraduate Studies program.

Reported by Cody Schmidt, Class of 2025

Photographed by Jesse Campbell, Class of 2025

Professor Robert Yelle, chair of religious studies at Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich, Germany joined Duke Kunshan professors Rasoul Namazi and James Miller on September 26 to present a lecture based on his writing “Hobbes the Egyptian: The Return to Pharaoh, or the Ancient Roots of Secular Politics.” A question-and-answer session was held after the presentation. The lecture was the first of a two-part series hosted by Yelle, Namazi, and Miller titled Religion and Politics, with its follow-up being held later that afternoon.

In his lecture, he examined Hobbes’s ideas of secularization and the story of Pharaoh from the Bible. Yelle began with the frontispiece for Leviathan. The “Mortal God,” a ruler physically made of his subjects and holding a bishop’s staff in one hand and a sword in the other, is depicted as standing over his country, wielding the powers of church and state. Yelle argues that this “Mortal God” is a representation of the book’s namesake, the Leviathan, a sea monster that aided in Pharaoh’s oppression of the Hebrews.

“The Leviathan was armed with the many bodies of the citizens, their heads here appearing [in the frontispiece] as scales. [This] had become an appropriate epithet for a king or a leader of an army… Hobbes meant to invoke Pharoah and, in fact, if you just look at the Hebrew Bible, there are various places where a clear identification is made between Pharoah and the sea monster.”

During Hobbes’s time of the English Civil War, this religious image of the oppressive Leviathan and Pharaoh would be used to justify the revolutionary acts occurring, using the Exodus as parallel imagery for their war. Hobbes provides a critique and reversal of this justification, which Yelle explains was to reject such religious political revolution and embrace the philosophy of social contract theory with a ruling sovereign power.

Continue reading “Student Report: Robert Yelle – Thomas Hobbes’s Radical Path to Secularization”

Student Report: Ascension 登楼叹 Q&A Session & Interview

Q&A session with Maggie Li
Reported by Zishuo Wu, Class of 2024

Tonight’s first screening in the 2022 academic year, Ascension (Kingdon, 2021) is an Oscar-nominated American documentary depicting class inequality in China. After screening the splendid realistic observational documentary, the producer of Ascension, Maggie Li, was invited to the Question & Answer session hosted by DKU Humanities Research Center.

Maggie began this session by introducing her contribution to the documentary. “There exist two kinds of producers,” said Maggie, “the first kind invests money and contributes nothing else; the other kind works on every part of the production.” As a producer of the second kind, Maggie made sure everything in the movie was working — communicating with organizations, companies, and individuals about their appearance in the documentary, and proofreading the translation and edits made to the film. The production took four years in total. With almost everything done by only a team of three people, the success of the documentary is unbelievable. She also shared that she was majoring in nano-science, though ended up working in filming industries.

Below is the Q&A session with Maggie Li:  Continue reading “Student Report: Ascension 登楼叹 Q&A Session & Interview”

Student Report: _ao_ao_ing (老妖精) Working Wonders on DKU Campus

Reported by Yongkun (Vicky) Wu, Class of 2026

Established in 2018, _ao_ao_ing (老妖精) is a Shanghai-based performance ensemble that is continuously morphing and finding its shape. With six core members from different disciplines and backgrounds, the ensemble uses contemporary experimental theatre as their main medium, but their creation also includes participatory performances, city walks, workshops, online interactive programs, and happenings, which revolve around strong action. _ao_ao_ing makes performances that juggles the line between theatre and everyday life and create real happenings that cannot be replicated. Continue reading “Student Report: _ao_ao_ing (老妖精) Working Wonders on DKU Campus”

Student Report: Superdeep #11: “Leo Strauss and Islamic Political Thought” (Rasoul Namazi)

Reported by Zishuo Wu, Class of 2024.

Professor Rasoul Namazi

Superdeep #11: “Leo Strauss and Islamic Political Thought” (Rasoul Namazi) September 22, 2022, 6pm.

The host of tonight’s Superdeep session, Prof. Nathan Hauthaler started this Superdeep session with a warm welcome and introduction towards Prof. Namazi, an intelligent and broadly knowledgeable Iranian educated in France. Prof. Namazi delivered this session based on his recently published book: Leo Strauss and Islamic Political Thought. He started his talk with a brief biography of the German-American philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973). Prof. Namazi highlighted Strauss’ experience in training many students during his scholarship career, especially at the University of Chicago (1949-1969). Continue reading “Student Report: Superdeep #11: “Leo Strauss and Islamic Political Thought” (Rasoul Namazi)”

Student Report on Professor Hyun Jeong Ha’s Manuscript Workshop: Social Mechanisms of Sectarian Violence in Egypt, 1970-2020: Types and Patterns of Armed Aggression and Communal Clash

Reported by Waner Shao, Class of 2024.

The HRC Citizenship Lab hosted a  Manuscript Workshop: Social Mechanisms of Sectarian Violence in Egypt, 1970-2020: Types and Patterns of Armed Aggression and Communal Clash with Professor Hyun Jeong Ha on August 1, 2022. The paper examined how political events, such as the Arab Spring, have affected sectarian relations, especially between Muslims and Christian, and focussed on Christian experiences of  sectarian tensions and violence over the past 50 years.

Continue reading “Student Report on Professor Hyun Jeong Ha’s Manuscript Workshop: Social Mechanisms of Sectarian Violence in Egypt, 1970-2020: Types and Patterns of Armed Aggression and Communal Clash”

Student Report: XR Workshop #3: UI Design with Figma

Reported by Jiahe Yang, DKU Undergraduate Class of 2025

The HRC Anthropocene XR Lab‘s Student Lab Manager, Leiyuan Tian, hosted a workshop on using Figma to do basic UI (User Interface) design on July 14, 2022. The lab invited Qingyang He from the class of 2024 who majored in Media Art, Creative practice track to mainly present the talk. Figma is an online collaboration tool for designers and developers to create user interfaces for applications, webpages, or other kinds of media. Qingyang walked us through the basic knowledge of Figma’s tools, functions, Figma resources, and some examples of her work. Then she gave two short tutorials on vector symbols and texture shading, then end the workshop by providing a case study about light weighted digital drawing interface.

Basics of the Figma interface Continue reading “Student Report: XR Workshop #3: UI Design with Figma”

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”

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”