CAC:// DKU 2020 Research/Creation Fellowship Winner Announcement

Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce that the CAC://DKU 2020 Research / Creation Fellowship (USD$10,000) has been awarded to the artist GUO Cheng for his project proposal Wind Verification. Guo will start the 3-month residency program at Chronus Art Center (CAC) and Duke Kunshan University.

Jury Statement

The first collaborative initiative between CAC_Lab and Duke Kunshan University’s Humanities Research Center, the Fellowship aims to support and advance research-based artistic practice, with a particular emphasis on practitioners who employ or interrogate technology in the conception and production of their work. The selection was based on the strength of the proposed project, the proposal’s relevance to this session’s topic (“World Wide What”), and its feasibility.

GUO Cheng is set to dispute the relationship between the common perception of social media as altered, selective representation of reality, and art as means for collective “peer-review” of the unverified viral, in an attempt to provide alternative visions to what post COVID-19 “World Wide What” could become. Wind Verification draws on the practices of the likes of Giuseppe Penone and Forensic Architecture in an attempt to further legitimize creative practices not only as means for critical inquiry but as potential tools to bring about change.

Wind Verification is conceptually powerful and technologically ambitious. The project’s technical framework ranges from the computer vision algorithm analysing crowd-sourced footage scraped from mainly East Asian social media, to a physical installation setting that will use fans to recreate ‘verified wind’ realities. GUO Cheng aims to draw new potential functional purposes for social media and elaborate on a range of tools required for such advances to be achievable. Continue reading “CAC:// DKU 2020 Research/Creation Fellowship Winner Announcement”



此次人文学研究大会9月18日下午拉开序幕。人文艺术与自然动物的连结或许在自然之初早已谱写完毕,生命之树从远古的有机体中发芽、生枝、蔓延,人类是其中微小的分叉,但与一切存在过的生命互通,就像Carlos Rojas教授在开幕式上所提到的“成为人类究竟意味着什么,人在某种程度上有变成动物的能力”。世界的概念、人类的起源,科学技术的发展一直在指引我们探寻着人类存在的根本。大会中令我印象最深刻的是在IB1056教室开展的小组讨论会,Oran Catts教授将人文艺术与生命联结,用生命组织书写故事,“当生物学成为工程上的追求,生命成为原材料。在未来我们将见证可以自我组装,自我修复并执行不同功能的智能材料。它们中的部分会脱离我们的管束,蜕变为杂草或是害虫。这就是新型生态学的世界。”当生物变为新材料、构建工程,semi-living(半活状态)裹挟着神秘与新奇冲撞着人类对生命控制的欲望。但人类并不能自私地认为自己站立于食物链的顶端,企图掌握一切自然生灵的命运舵轮。Oran Catts教授用独特而永恒的艺术方式引导人们关注人与自然的关系,这种关系不是控制,而是和谐尊重。用生命创造艺术,并用艺术来强调生命的力量。我们需要去理解生命,而非控制生命。



郭一柯(2024):在听演讲之前,我认为所谓生命仅仅是动物植物微生物,然而这次演讲让我开始重新思考生命的定义:我们究竟应不应该像对待生命一样对待extended body(广延物体),以及如何处理生命与非生命的关系。作为biology art(生物艺术)的“鼻祖”,Catts教授对于extended body有着非凡的见解。在讨论中,他非常耐心地倾听我们的提问,并且给予详细的回答。Catts的讲座为我打开了一扇通向biology art的大门, 通过艺术来展现生物的魅力,也是一种精神的愉悦与享受。


Continue reading “2020秋季学期人文学研究大会小结”

Humanities Research Projects are Recruiting!

Register your interest  by Monday, 26 October, 0800 China time​ for priority consideration

Learn how you can participate in research programs led by the Humanities Research Center. These include our Kunshan Digital Humanities program, our Planetary Ethics and Artificial Intelligence Lab, and other labs and activities. The Humanities Research Center is open to students in all disciplines across the university. Students will gain valuable research experience, work closely with faculty mentors, and can receive funding to carry out projects related to their signature works.

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:

The Memory Project Screening Series

Screenings of:


By Hao Yongbo

Water Pavilion(湖心亭), 2020/10/13, 8PM


By Zhang Mengqi

Water Pavilion(湖心亭), 2020/10/14, 8PM

Main Event:


Water Pavilion(湖心亭), 2020/10/15, 8:30PM

Background – The Memory Project 

Chinese Documentary filmmaker Wu Wenguang launched The Memory Project in 2010 to collect oral histories from survivors of the Great Famine (1958-1961) in rural China. Since 2010, several young filmmakers have joined the project. They have been to 246 villages in 20 provinces and interviewed more than 1,220 elderly villagers. The Memory Project aims to shine light on one of modern China’s most traumatic episodes, the Great Famine of 1958-1961. The project also covers Great Leap Forward of 1958-1960, Land Reform and Collectivization of 1949-1953, the Four Cleanups Movement in 1964 and the Cultural Revolution of 1966-1976. The amateur filmmakers from Wu’s studio discovered their family histories and identities in the process of interviewing the villagers, reconciling the official history taught in schools with each family’s experience.

Special Forum on Freedom Voices and Struggles Across the Globe

On September 19th, at the Humanities Fall Conference, the Freedom Lab hosted a forum on “Freedom Voices and Struggles Across the Globe.” The forum consisted of presentations and discussions by faculty and student research assistants on their current research projects sponsored by the Freedom Lab. Professor Qian Zhu, along with student researchers Qingyi Yin and Xueyi Liu, presented their ongoing research on the New Village Movement and New Life Movement in Republican China. Professor Jesse Olsavsky as well as Yue Qiu and Henry Stevens presented their work transcribing and editing abolitionist histories of the Haitian Revolution. Professor Bryce Beemer described his new research on the modern history of Burmese temple slaves. Professor Selina Lai Henderson concluded by discussing her work on the Chinese translation of W.E.B. Dubois’s foundational text, The Souls of Black Folk. The Freedom Lab looks forward to the student projects and publications that will emerge from the new research presented at this forum.

Freedom’s Proximity: The Interconnections between American Slavery, British Colonial Abolition, and Slave Ship Revolt




Opening Welcome by VCAA Scott Maceachern

Tuesday October 13

9:15 PM-10:30 PM Beijing Time

Zoom ID: 261 330 4845


In November 1841, 19 rebels seized the US slave ship Creole transporting 139 slaves from Virginia to Louisiana and steered it to the British Bahamas. After a disputatious week between US officials and British colonial authorities, the slaves walked to freedom and scattered through the region. Drawing upon new historical documents, this talk narrates this fascinating story. It further situates this tale within the context of an expanding empire of American slavery and an expanding empire of British colonial abolition during the mid-nineteenth century.


Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie

Born in London, United Kingdom, Jeffrey Kerr-Ritchie earned his first history degree at Kingston University. He completed his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania and went on to teach at Wesleyan, Columbia, Penn, SUNY-Binghamton, and UNC-Greensboro. He has been teaching the African Diaspora field at Howard University since 2006. He has been Director of Graduate Studies since 2015. His research interests include slavery, abolition, and post-emancipation societies, especially in North America and the Caribbean during the nineteenth century. He has spoken on these topics in numerous countries, including Cuba, the Netherlands, Egypt, and Vietnam. Alongside numerous articles, he is author of the books Freed People in the Tobacco South (2003); Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World (2011); Freedom Seekers: Essays in Comparative Emancipation (2014); and most recently Rebellious Passage: The Creole Revolt and America’s Coastal Slave Trade (2019)

Points Center for Contemporary Art Series Talk | Conversation with Liao Fei and Zhao Qian

Time: 9/25, Friday 6-7pm

Location: IB1046

Zoom ID: 262-835-7204

The Media & Arts Speaker series at Duke Kunshan University is a bi-weekly event that invites leading practitioners in media and arts to speak about their work and practice and engage with our DKU community.

The second short series features Points Center for Contemporary Art (PCCA). Situated in the greater Kunshan region, PCCA is dedicated to building a cultural ecosystem that embraces the local community within Kunshan city. Through this series, we hope to provide students an introduction to the art center, its guiding philosophy, its programs and artists.

The lecture scheduled on Friday September 25th, 2020 at 6pm China Central time features Points 2020 spring resident artists Liao Fei and Zhao Qian where they will share with us their methodology and work. This series is organized and hosted by Prof. Vivian Xu and Prof. Benjamin Bacon, and supported by Arts and Humanities and the Humanities Research Center at Duke Kunshan University.

This event is open to the public.

Continue reading “Points Center for Contemporary Art Series Talk | Conversation with Liao Fei and Zhao Qian”

Recovering Histories of the Haitian Revolution

By Yue Qiu and Henry Stevens

Haiti, known prior to 1804 as St. Domingue, was once the wealthiest colony in the French empire. African slaves worked the vast sugar plantations to enrich the powerful French Monarchy and Empire. On August 22nd, 1791, slaves on the northern plain of Haiti revolted against their masters, burned the plantations, and thrust themselves into the turmoil of the French Revolution. Out of the slave revolt came an alliance between the self-liberated Black people of Haiti and the revolutionary government of France.[1] The slaves, who were ultimately led by Toussaint L’Ouverture, were betrayed when Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France and attempted to reinstate slavery in the Caribbean colonies. Despite imprisoning and killing L’Ouverture, while sending 50,000 soldiers to Haiti under his brother-in-law Leclerc, Bonaparte found that freed people would fight to the death to defend their liberty. Leclerc died in the fighting, and his successor Rochambeau retreated from a newly-freed Haiti, which Black leader Dessalines formally declared an independent nation in 1804.

Thirty years after Haitian independence, an American movement against slavery sprang into life. As with France, slave labor enriched the economy of the United States. In 1831, the slave Nat Turner led a revolt against slavery in Virginia, and in the same year, William Lloyd Garrison published the first edition of The Liberator, an abolitionist newspaper, which openly declared American abolitionists’ resolution: “I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”[2]  From the 1830’s to the end of the Civil War, the Underground Railroad helped Southern slaves escape to the Northern free states where many became radical abolitionists. However, the slaveholding Southern states showed the institution’s resilience by creating slave territories out of the land seized in the Mexican-American war and extending their legal authority in the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act, which required all citizens of America to assist federal authorities in capturing runaway slaves The height of the tensions between slave-owners and abolitionists came in 1859 when abolitionist John Brown led an unsuccessful raid on Harper’s Ferry in an attempt to ignite a mass slave revolution, signaling an embrace of violence. Continue reading “Recovering Histories of the Haitian Revolution”

Report on Humanities Research Center Student Orientation & Information Session

By Anisha Joshi

Class of 2022

On September 1st, DKU’s freshmen were introduced to the DKU Humanities Research Center. While DKU does not have a graduate program in the arts and humanities yet, the HRC gives DKU students the unique opportunity work on intensive research with professor, as well as carry out their own projects. Continue reading “Report on Humanities Research Center Student Orientation & Information Session”