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”

Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Poetry, translation, and world citizenship in the long 1950s.”

Humanities Research Center’s Citizenship Lab proudly funds Professor Alice Xiang’s research project, Poetry, translation, and world citizenship in the long 1950s.

Project members: Professor Alice Xiang & Research Assistant(s) TBD

Project Summary: This project explores the role of poetry as a key force in the production of solidarity between new and emerging nations in the 1950s. From multilateral peace conferences to transnational poetry anthologies, the works of left-leaning poets such as Nazım Hikmet, Pablo Neruda, and Nicolas Guillén were widely disseminated across a range of mediums during this period, making them highly influential in shaping aspirational forms of internationalist belonging and world citizenship. One of Turkish poet Hikmet’s most popular works, Angina Pectoris (1948), for example, opens with the following lines: “If half my heart is here, doctor / the other half is in China / with the army flowing / toward the Yellow River.”

Continue reading “Citizenship Lab Research Project: “Poetry, translation, and world citizenship in the long 1950s.””

HRC Citizenship Lab Manuscript Workshop #3

Collective Candidacies in Brazil: Challenges and Pitfalls of a Gambiarra

Date & Time: Tuesday, Nov 29, 7:30 PM (BJT)
Zoom ID: 955 0753 0898
Speaker: Ricardo Mendonça
Ricardo Mendonça is an Associate professor of Political Science at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). His work is on democratic theory, contentious politics and political communication. Continue reading “HRC Citizenship Lab Manuscript Workshop #3”

HRC Citizenship Lab: Research Assistant Opportunity


Student Job Title: Research Assistant for The Citizenship Lab at the Humanities Research Center
Start date and end date: December 2022 – May 2023 (start and end dates flexible depending on student schedule)
Number of Students to Hire: 1 (open to students from any track)
Stipend: 40 RMB/hour
Workload: Project based, 1-5 hours per week (flexible depending on student schedule)
Reports to: Professor Alice Xiang

Please send CV and cover letter to by November 30, 2022.

Student researcher job description:
This project seeks a research assistant with the ability to read Russian. The student researcher would focus on identifying and translating 1950s Russian sources relating to the Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet, as well as commentary on China’s literary initiatives (in particular its push for ‘yafei wenxue’, or ‘Asiafrican literature’). Examples of such sources include major newspapers and periodicals. This project may be of particular relevance to students with a background in literature, history, or international relations, but is open to any student with advanced Russian reading ability and an interest in the topic.

Continue reading “HRC Citizenship Lab: Research Assistant Opportunity”

Citizenship Lab Calls for Grant Applications for Faculty-Student Research Collaboration

The Citizenship Lab invites applications for funding from faculty, Class of 2023, and Class of 2024 students working on or developing Signature Work (SW) projects related to citizenship.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please reach out to the Citizenship Lab ( for questions and to submit your application.

Continue reading “Citizenship Lab Calls for Grant Applications for Faculty-Student Research Collaboration”

Citizenship Lab Welcomes Elena Lopez

Citizenship Lab is proud to welcome their first post-graduate affiliate, Elena Lopez. Read Lopez’s biography below.

Elena Lopez

Elena Lopez is a PhD candidate in anthropology at James Cook University in Townsville, Australia. Her research interests include political philosophy, social- environmental and multispecies justice, conflict, nationhood, and understandings of citizenship. In her doctoral thesis, Elena disturbs current understandings of political community, aiming to learn something new about the conditions that can make living together possible and for decolonial ecologies to flourish. Launching an ethnographic investigation into the White settler and her understandings of shared responsibility, Elena explores the creative processes of political struggle to examine decolonial thought in relation to temporality, citizenship, and notions of white Australian identity.