Citizenship Lab Presents: “The Pandemic Within: Policy Making for a Better World”

Date/Time: March 28th, 5:30pm
Zoom ID: 954 6231 1016
Guest Speaker: Hendrik Wagenaar and Barbara Prainsack

Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has starkly revealed the fault lines in the current, neoliberal political-economic order. While we are obviously not the ones to have noticed this, our take on the problem differs in a number of important ways from the usual political economy analyses. The aim of the book is to provide an evidence-based, practically feasible, vision of a more sustainable and more just political economic order. We use utopian imagination as a systematic method (Levitas 2013). Specifically, the purpose of the book is twofold: 1) to provide the ideas and vocabulary for a different narrative of a better society, and 2) to suggest concrete solutions, each one of them grounded in practical experience and/or scientific evidence.

Student Report on The Climate Emergency and Tuvalu’s Escape to the Metaverse: Challenging the Complicity of Design in Technological Solutionism

Cody Schmidt, class of 2025 

This event was hosted by HRC’s Citizenship Lab. The Citizenship Lab seeks to understand the transformation of citizenship and the ways in which citizenship is expressed through ecological, temporal, and spatial terms. The full event can be viewed here.

Dr. Nick Kelly and Professor Marcus Foth from the Queensland University of Technology joined Professor Robin Rodd from Duke Kunshan’s Citizenship Lab on March 9th to discuss the role of the metaverse in the politics of climate change. Based on their article published in The Conversation, the two began by explaining Tuvalu’s attempt to save their nation that has turned towards metaverse technologies.  Continue reading “Student Report on The Climate Emergency and Tuvalu’s Escape to the Metaverse: Challenging the Complicity of Design in Technological Solutionism”

Citizenship Lab Presents: On (Self-Destructive) Resistance

Date/Time: Fri, Mar 17, 4pm China time
Zoom ID: 989 6560 8865
Guest Speaker: Prof. Candice Delmas

Abstract: Acts of self-destructive resistance, such as self-neglect, self-immolation, hunger strike, and lip-sewing, which involve self-directed violence, have not caught philosophers’ attention. This neglect makes sense given the methodological assumptions that underwrite philosophers’ approach to resistance, including the tools they use, the goals they set out for their investigation, and what they view as paradigms of resistance. I identify five such methodological assumptions and show that they do not only constitute an obstacle to theorizing self-destructive resistance, but also distort understanding of the very phenomena that philosophers intend to capture, including civil disobedience and violent and non-violent resistance.

Biography: Candice Delmas is an associate professor of philosophy and political science at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, specializing in social, legal, moral, and political philosophy. In 2022-2023, she is a Fellow-in-Residence at the Collegium de Lyon (a French Institute for Advanced Study).

Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Relational Egalitarianism and Economic Liberty”

The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Jiyuan (Dmitry) Sun’s Signature Work project

Student: Jiyuan (Dmitry) Sun, Class of 2024, Ethics and Leadership/Philosophy

Mentor: Joseph Mazor, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

This project centers on two concepts in contemporary political philosophy: relational egalitarianism and economic liberty. It will investigate the place of economic liberty within the theoretical framework of relational egalitarianism. By revealing the incompatibility between existing conceptions of economic liberty and relational egalitarianism, it strives to reconcile the two concepts by redefining economic liberty. It will ideally reach the conclusion that economic liberty is not only compatible with relational egalitarianism but an essential constituent of the latter. It takes a pragmatic concern with carving out an institutional design in which people are both economically free and equal in socio-political relations under democratic citizenship, and a further theoretical concern with the fluid interactions between freedom and equality.

This project is expected to start during summer 2023 and conclude during spring 2024. Its research process will involve (i) literature reviews of Elizabeth Anderson’s (1999) conception of relational egalitarianism, including Value in Ethics and Economics (1995) and “What is the Point of Equality?” (1999); (ii) comparative studies of multiple existing theories of economic liberty; (iii) independent argumentation on the relationship between relational egalitarianism and economic liberty; (iv) potential interviews with renowned scholars concerning relational egalitarianism and economic liberty; (v) peer-review seminars coordinated with the DKU Citizenship Lab.

Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Familial Love or Social Justice? Confucian Dilemmas of Ethics and Politics”

The Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Xiaoliang Yang’s  Signature Work project.

Student: Xiaoliang Yang, Class of 2023, Ethics and Leadership/Philosophy

Mentor: Lincoln Rathnam, Assistant Professor of Political Science

In this project, I consider Classical Confucians’ treatments of ethical dilemmas, as reflected in Confucian classics (especially the Analects and Mengzi). I respond to current scholarly debates, including where scholars (e.g., Fan Ruiping and Liu Qingping) frame Confucian ethics as “familial favoritism,” which means that familial interests possess higher priority than social goods. I argue that their account of Confucian familial favoritism is entirely based on Confucians’ compliments of those who prioritize familial interests in ethical dilemmas between family vs. society. But the acceptance of one choice does not necessarily lead to the refutation of the other, since Confucians might also praise those who prioritize social interests. In the latter parts of the thesis, I provide theoretical reasons for why I support an ethically pluralistic interpretation of Classical Confucianism and analyze why Confucians will also credit those who prioritize social interests where there are conflicts between family and society. Some of the sources I will incorporate in my research include primary and secondary literature in Classical Confucianism, such as the Analects, Mengzi, Xunzi, works of the New Confucian Mou Zongsan, Stephen Angle’s Contemporary Confucian Political Thought, and Joseph Chan’s Confucian Perfectionism. Ultimately, this project rejects the commonly held notion of “familial favoritism” ascribed to Confucianism by unveiling the underappreciated dimension of Confucianism in which social interests can be prioritized as well. This research also seeks to reconstruct Classical Confucianism as a system encompassing high tolerance of diversified solutions for the same problem. It aims to demonstrate the internal complexity and flexibility of Classical Confucianism, deepening our understanding of Confucian responses toward ethical dilemmas.

Student Report on Ghost Rivers in the Urban Anthropocene

Reported by Cody Schmidt, class of 2025

This talk was hosted by HRC’s Citizenship Lab. The Citizenship Lab seeks to understand the transformation of citizenship and the ways in which citizenship is expressed through ecological, temporal, and spatial terms.

Professor Kregg Hetherington from Concordia University joined Duke Kunshan’s Citizenship Lab on February 17th to deliver a presentation titled “Ghost Rivers in the Urban Anthropocene.” Moderated by Citizenship Lab co-director Robin Rodd, the lecture recounted the story of the St. Pierre, a river that once ran through Montreal and nourished the city in its foundation, now considered a “ghost river.” Continue reading “Student Report on Ghost Rivers in the Urban Anthropocene”

Citizenship Lab Presents: The Climate Emergency and Tuvalu’s Escape to the Metaverse: Challenging the Complicity of Design in Technological Solutionism 

Date: March 9, 2023
Time: 4-5:30pm China time
Location: IB 1010
Zoom ID: 962 8265 9729
Speakers: Nick Kelly, Marcus Foth (Queensland University of Technology)

The full recording of this event can be found here.

Rising sea levels due to climate change are already having severe impacts on the nation of Tuvalu. It proposes to build a digital replica of itself in the metaverse. In this talk, we will not only ask whether it can be done but explore the actual message hidden in this announcement. This leads us to explore some broader questions pertaining to the relationship between citizenship and the politics of climate change: Will technology innovation save us? What responsibility should citizens take in making ethical consumption choices? What is the role of design and designers in intermediating between government, industry and citizens? Continue reading “Citizenship Lab Presents: The Climate Emergency and Tuvalu’s Escape to the Metaverse: Challenging the Complicity of Design in Technological Solutionism “

Citizenship Lab Presents: Ghost Rivers in the Urban Anthropocene

Date/Time: Friday, February 17, 9:00 AM China time
Location: [ZOOM] 974 1691 6744
Speaker: Kregg Hetherington, Associate Professor at Concordia University in Montreal

Several years ago, a group of students at Concordia University went looking for water and found a ghost. They weren’t alone in this. Local activists, urban planners and eventually city officials all found themselves, over the past decade, drawn into relation with a long-forgotten river that, for different reasons, had begun to haunt local infrastructure. In 2021 they even held a funeral, played the bagpipes, and tried to come to terms with a new form of mourning. As this paper will argue, the appearance of ghost rivers is a kind of infrastructural inversion proper to the urban Anthropocene, conjured by shifting attention to landscapes of ecological destruction. To know a ghost river is to understand underground pipes and legal histories, it’s to become aware of contamination and histories of disease, and it’s to reflect on the future of human cohabitation. But communing with a ghost, and holding funerals for the deceased, is not the same as repair. Instead, it’s an invitation to reflect on new kinds of Anthropocene beings, and the responses that they demand. Continue reading “Citizenship Lab Presents: Ghost Rivers in the Urban Anthropocene”

HRC Citizenship Lab is Seeking a Research Assistant


Application due date: December 18, 2022

To apply, please send CV and cover letter to

Workload: Project based, and up to 10hrs/week (40 RMB/hour)
Starting date: Immediately

Main Duties and Responsibilities: Assisting the Lab co-directors with Lab-related research activities. This may include, but is not limited to, identifying potential guest speakers; assisting the lab directors with bibliographic research for citizenship-related publications; and identifying case studies and other materials for inclusion in article and book manuscripts written by the Lab co-directors or affiliates. Continue reading “HRC Citizenship Lab is Seeking a Research Assistant”