Faculty Expertise on Contemporary China | Duke Kunshan University

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Faculty Expertise on Contemporary China

Core affiliates of the Center for the Study of Contemporary China are Duke Kunshan University faculty in the social sciences and humanities with a primary research and teaching focus on contemporary China.

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Annemieke van den Dool

Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy, Duke Kunshan University

Annemieke van den Dool is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy at Duke Kunshan University.

She is an interdisciplinary scholar studying policy processes and environmental issues, in particular in China. Predominantly using qualitative methods, she examines policy change after public health crises such as food safety scandals, environmental accidents, and epidemic outbreaks. Dr. Van den Dool received her BA in Chinese Languages and Cultures from Leiden University and MS in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management¾a joint degree¾from Central European University, Lund University and the University of Manchester. She received her PhD in Law from the University of Amsterdam.


Lincoln Rathnam

Assistant Professor of Social Science, Duke Kunshan University

Lincoln Rathnam received his BA in Philosophy (Honors) from Davidson College, participated in the Inter-University Program in Chinese Language Studies with C

oursework in Mandarin Chinese at Tsinghua University, received his MA in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and his PhD in Political Science from the University of Toronto (2017). In 2016-2017 he was a Visiting Instructor in the Department of Political Science at Davidson College and he is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Emory University. Dr. Rathnam’s fields of study are Political Theory and Comparative Politics. His current project is a comparative analysis of Montaigne and Zhuangzi on freedom, toleration, and the limits of government authority. His next project is a re-examination of the “Asian values” debate through a comparative analysis of David Hume and Mencius. His teaching interests at DKU include Ethics and Leadership, Global China Studies, U.S. Studies, Institutions and Governance, and Political Science.


Nellie Chu

Assistant Professor of Social Science, Duke Kunshan University

Nellie Chu is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University.

She received her BA in International Relations (Highest Honors) and German Language and Culture (High Honors), from the University of California, Davis and her MA and PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz (2014). In 2016-2017, she held a fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies/Henry Luce Foundation for China Studies and the National Endowment for the Humanities and served as a Visiting Professor at the University of Goettingen Center for Modern East Asian Studies in Germany. In 2017-2018, she held a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University’s School for Industrial and Labor Research. Dr. Chu’s current research focuses on global supply chains in fashion and the transnational role of migrant entrepreneurs. She has also started a new project on West African and Korean religious communities related to the doctrine of prosperity. Her research site for both projects is Guangzhou.


Zach Fredman

Assistant Professor of Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

Zach Fredman is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University.

He received his BA in History from the University of Arizona and his MA and PhD in History from Boston University (2016). Dr. Fredman’s research focuses on U.S.- China relations, and his first book, forthcoming with University of North Carolina Press, examines the U.S. military presence in China during the 1940s. Dr. Fredman has carried out extensive archival research in China, and his work has been published in Frontiers of History in China, Diplomatic History, Diplomacy and Statecraft, and The Washington Post. In 2017, he received the Edward M. Coffman First Book Manuscript Prize from the Society for Military History and the Betty M. Unterberger Dissertation Prize from the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. Prior to joining Duke Kunshan University, he held postdoctoral fellowships at Dartmouth College (2017–2018) and Nanyang Technological University (2016–2017).


Selina Lai-Henderson

Assistant Professor of Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

Selina Lai-Henderson is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University.

She received her BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong, her MA in American Studies from Heidelberg University, Germany, was a Fulbright Scholar at Stanford University, and received her PhD in American Studies from the University of Hong Kong (2013). Prior to joining Duke Kunshan University, she was a Research Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Lai-Henderson’s first book, Mark Twain in China (Stanford University Press) was published in 2015, and her current work focuses on W.E.B. Du Bois and Langston Hughes in Shanghai. She is a cultural and literary scholar and historian.


Andrew MacDonald

Assistant Professor of Social Science, Duke Kunshan University

Andrew MacDonald is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University.

He received his BA in in History and MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his MPhil and PhD in Politics from Oxford University (2015). He was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville in 20172017. Dr. MacDonald’s primary interest is in finding new ways of unlocking data to better understand individual level outcomes in China. His research focuses on service provision in authoritarian regimes and the incentive structure of developing nations in providing social welfare benefits as well as how individuals are impacted by and react to state narratives and ideology.


James Miller

Professor of Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

James Miller is a Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University.

He received a BA (Honors) in Chinese Studies, a BA (Honors) and an MA in Theological and Religious Studies from Cambridge University, and a PhD in Religious and Theological Studies from Boston University (2000). Prior to joining Duke Kunshan University, he was a Professor of Chinese Studies in the School of Religion at Queen’s University, Canada, cross-appointed to the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and Director of the School of Religion. Dr. Miller’s current research focuses on the intersection of religion and the environment in China. He has published six books, including, most recently, China’s Green Religion: Daoism and the Quest for a Sustainable Future (Columbia University Press, 2017).


Ben Van Overmeire

Assistant Professor of Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

Ben Van Overmeire is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University. He received his BA


 (cum laude) and his MA (summa cum laude) in Germanic Languages and Literatures from the VrijeUniversiteit Brussel, his MA in American Studies (magna cum laude) from the University of Antwerp, his MA in Comparative Literature (magna cum laude) from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, and his PhD in Literature from the University of California, San Diego (2016). In 20162017, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College. Currently, he is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation, Flanders, at Ghent University. Dr. Van Overmeire is trained in Comparative Literature, and his research focuses on the study of Zen Buddhist texts.


Don Snow

Professor and Director of the Language and Culture Center, Duke Kunshan University

Don Snow is Director of the Language and Culture Center at Duke Kunshan University.

He has a BA in History from the College of Wooster, an MA in English (TESOL) from Michigan State University, and a PhD in East Asian Language and Cultures (Chinese linguistics) from Indiana University (1991). His primary China-related research interest focuses on Chinese dialects and the historical development of their written forms. His scholarly work includes articles on the written forms of Cantonese, Chaoshan (Teochew), Suzhounese, and Shanghainese, and he is the author of the monograph Cantonese as Written Language: The Growth of a Written Chinese Vernacular (Hong Kong University Press, 2004).


Daniel Stephens

Assistant Professor of Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

Daniel Stephens is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University. He received his BA in


Philosophy from Grand Valley State University, his MPhil in Philosophy from the University of Hong Kong, and his PhD in Philosophy from Duke University (2015). In 20152017, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for East Asian and Comparative Philosophy, Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong. In 20172018 he was a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Fordham University. Dr. Stephens studies both traditional interpretations of Chinese philosophy and the dialogue between Chinese philosophy and modern ethics and social psychology.