The Humanities Research Center is led by two co-directors, James Miller at Duke Kunshan University, and Carlos Rojas at Duke University. The co-directors work with an advisory board of scholars from both universities. The center welcomes the involvement of all Duke faculty, DKU faculty, and affiliated scholars whose work has a humanistic dimension.


James Miller

James Miller, PhD
James Miller is the inaugural Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Strategy. He is co-director of the Humanities Research Center and responsible for fostering interdisciplinary research in the arts, humanities and interpretive social sciences at DKU. His research lies at the intersection of religion, philosophy, culture and ecology, and he is a noted expert on Daoism, China’s indigenous religion. He has published six books including, most recently, China’s Green Religion: Daoism and the Quest for a Sustainable Future (Columbia 2017).

Carlos Rojas

Carlos Rojas, PhD
Carlos Rojas is Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies; Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies; and Arts of the Moving Image. His research focuses on issues of gender and visuality, corporeality and infection, and nationalism and diaspora studies, particularly as they relate to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the global Chinese diaspora. He works primarily in the early modern, modern, and contemporary periods. He is the author of three books: The Naked Gaze: Reflection on Chinese Modernity, The Great Wall: A Cultural History, and Homesickness: Culture, Contagion, and National Transformation. He is the co-editor of five books: Writing Taiwan: A New Literary History (with David Der-wei Wang), Rethinking Chinese Popular Culture: Cannibalizations of the Canon (with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow), The Oxford Handbook of Chinese Cinemas (with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Chinese Literatures (with Andrea Bachner), and Ghost Protocol: Development and Displacement in Global China (with Ralph Litzinger). He is also the translator of five volumes of literary fiction, including Yu Hua’s Brothers (translated with Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, and shortlisted for the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize), Yan Lianke’s Lenin’s Kisses, The Four Books, The Explosion Chronicles, and Marrow (of which The Four Books shortlisted for both the 2016 Man Booker International Prize and the 2016 FT/Oppenheimer Emerging Voices Award), and Malaysian Chinese author Ng Kim Chew’s Slow Boat to China and Other Stories.

Lab Manager

Tim Smith

Tim Smith
Tim Smith

Tim serves as a Lab and Projects Manager for the Humanities Research Center. Tim moved to China with his wife Kathy Robertson in August 2017. He has a B.S. in Psychology with Honors from the University of Pittsburgh, with course tracks and honors projects in Computation in the Humanities, Indian History and Culture, Russian History and Culture, Theology, Counseling Psychology, Computer Science, Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience. He has participated in the development and management of several international and interdisciplinary student summer research programs at University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. He has managed research and commercialization projects including NIH (National Institute of Health), DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), ONR (Office of Naval Research). Tim has studied, lived or worked in 35 countries on 5 different continents. He has led education and outreach efforts in Haiti, Panama, Canada, Chile and Ecuador. In research and business, he has initiated and maintained international collaborations in Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Australia, UK and Canada. He has led long term research installations and training workshops in Singapore, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Austria, Germany and Argentina. He is passionate about education, enriched learning environments and cross-cultural engagement. He has several active areas of research including software environments supporting lifelong, interdisciplinary, associative and integrative learning, augmented learning environments, travel and culture exploration. In addition to his work with the HRC he volunteers at DKU by developing and supporting cross-cultural initiatives and leadership training.

Advisory Board

Ttitas Chakraborty, PhD
Assistant Professor of History at Duke Kunshan University

Chris Chia, PhD (ex officio)
Associate Director of the Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University

Michaeline Crichlow,  PhD
Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies and Sociology at Duke University

Thomas J. Ferraro,  PhD
Frances Hill Fox Professor of English at Duke University

Ranjana Khanna, PhD (ex officio)
Professor of English, Women’s Studies, and the Literature Program at Duke University, and Director of the Franklin Humanities Institute

Selina Lai-Henderson, PhD
Assistant Professor of American Literature and History at Duke Kunshan University