Conference | Uneasy Allies: Sino-American Relations at the Grassroots, 1940–1949

The largest sustained engagement between Americans and Chinese that ever occurred in China took place during the 1940s. During this period, individual American and Chinese soldiers, scientists, nurses, and truck drivers, among many others, came together to collaborate in the fight against Japan. These interactions had a resonating impact: shaping popular perceptions of China and the United States, impacting the development of new and powerful institutions, and creating new markets and demands that would transform both countries and indeed much of East Asia. Yet, we know surprisingly little about these important grassroots interactions between Americans and Chinese. This conference, Sino-American Relations at the Grassroots, is an attempt to shine a direct light on the interactions between Americans and Chinese at all levels of the socio-economic spectrum in the 1940s. Focusing on grassroots perspectives rather than elite politics enables us to explore a wide range of Sino-American encounters during this period, from interaction between ordinary American servicemen and Chinese civilians to the trans-Pacific material exchange of American industrial goods for Chinese raw materials. Other themes include transnational disease control, intelligence and scientific collaboration, educational exchange, and the subjective experience of war. In addition to discussing current research, we plan to outline a framework for further study on the 1940s. Continue reading “Conference | Uneasy Allies: Sino-American Relations at the Grassroots, 1940–1949”

Summary Report: DKU Undergraduate Humanities Research Conference

On April 19-21, 2019 at Duke Kunshan University, DKU undergraduate students were joined by seniors from top Chinese universities for the very first DKU undergraduate humanities research conference. Envisaged by the humanities research center to provide an open platform for junior college students to learn how to do research when DKU just started its undergraduate program in 2018, the DKU undergraduate humanities research conference ended up bringing more than 40 students together for academic presentations and discussions. Continue reading “Summary Report: DKU Undergraduate Humanities Research Conference”

DKU Urban Villages Workshop Series 1: Urban Villages in China, 05/02-05/03, 2019

Over the last three decades, China’s rapid urbanization has been facilitated by the unprecedented mobility of rural migrant populations. Today it is estimated that some 240 million migrants have left the countryside to work in China’s cities, though the number is surely much higher. While there are heated debates about how to characterize what some have dubbed “largest human migration in history,” there is general agreement that this mobility has resulted from the increased demand for formal and informal labor in industry, for urban fringe agriculture, and for a range of services (everything from recycling and trash collection, to domestic work for the middle class to road and building construction, hotel work, food delivery services, entertainment and beauty services, sex work, and much more). As scholars on migration have emphasized, this mass human migration has unveiled the fluidity and dynamism of the rural and urban divide, even while the hukou 户口 or “household registration system,” created in the late 1950s, has remained the dominant mode to categorize and count rural and urban populations. Less understood is how rural migration to different kinds of urban spaces has created ambiguous interstitial spaces and networks through which new forms of labor and production of surplus value are emerging. These uneven urban spaces are inextricably linked to transformations in regimes of production and land use, as well as to changes in the organization of kinship and other social relations. Continue reading “DKU Urban Villages Workshop Series 1: Urban Villages in China, 05/02-05/03, 2019”

On Speculation: A Seminar with Ranjana Khanna

by Sinan Farooqui

Facedown in the sand. The waves crashing relentlessly. The red t-shirt. Small, lifeless. Most of us are familiar with the image of Aylan Kurdi, a three-year old Syrian child whose body washed up in Turkey after the refugee boat he was in capsized. The unforgettable image of Aylan on the beach resulted in a record number of donations to charitable organizations aiding refugees and greater awareness for the crisis at hand. It is this crisis, the notion of death and speculation, and the value of such images which was discussed in the latest in the series of colloquia hosted by the DKU Humanities Research Center. Continue reading “On Speculation: A Seminar with Ranjana Khanna”

India-China Talk Series: April 11-12, 2019

An Indian Town’s Entry into World War II: Ramgarh as the Chinese Expeditionary Force Training Center, Italian PoW Camp, and Indian Nationalist Movement Hub

CAO Yin, Associate Professor, Tsinghua University

Thursday April 11, 5.30pm-6.45pm in AB1079

India-China Discourse: The Knowledge Gap

Tansen Sen, Director, Center for Global Asia, and Professor, NYU-Shanghai

Friday April 12, 5.30pm-6.45pm, AB1079 Continue reading “India-China Talk Series: April 11-12, 2019”

Art in Global China, February 23-24, 2019

by Xuenan Cao

Art in Global China was in the 1990s the site of intense contestation between market and art. This site continues in the present as both a public and private discourse space for gatherings of art historians, curators, artists, researchers and students, and others who are similarly invested in the making of the contemporary art scene. During the two-day event, Professor Eva Man, director of Film Academy and Chair Professor at Hong Kong Baptist University and Haoyang Zhao, MFA from Duke University gave academic talks on the institutional, cultural, and technical components that inscribe what make sense to us as art. The event also provided an opportunity for speakers and guests to review students’ photography and film works and nurture interests in these two prominent media of art-making. Continue reading “Art in Global China, February 23-24, 2019”

Philosophy, Ethics, and Technology : A Conversation

by Sinan Farooqui

Philosophy, Ethics and Technology.

Three fields which have been interwoven into the fabric of time, overlapping increasingly due to the unstoppable tide of globalization in the modern era. The latest in the series of colloquiums hosted by the Humanities Research Center saw a conversation between two highly respected academics––Dr. Carl Mitcham (Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Colorado School of Mines) and Dr. Tom Wang (Associate Professor, School of Philosophy, Renmin University of China) ­–– who work in the intersection of these fields. Hosted in a different format than all that preceded it, this colloquium saw both speakers simply conversing with each other and the audience, based on a set of given questions, as opposed to just giving a lecture. Continue reading “Philosophy, Ethics, and Technology : A Conversation”

Whitney Bauman: Thinking through the Anthropocene

by Sinan Farooqui

Over the eons, the incessant ticking of time has culminated in our present reality: the Anthropocene, or the age of humans. This title comes with implications and indications about the state of the world, its hierarchies and underlying attitudes. And it is upon these very concepts that our distinguished speaker, Professor Whitney Bauman spoke during his lecture as part of the Duke Kunshan Colloquium Series, hosted by the Humanities Research Center. Continue reading “Whitney Bauman: Thinking through the Anthropocene”