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.

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.


Mengqi Wang

Assistant Professor of Social Science, Duke Kunshan University

Mengqi Wang is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University.

She received her BA in Economics and in Chinese and Media Studies from Beijing Normal University, and her MA and PhD in Anthropology from Brandeis University (2017). Dr. Wang’s research focuses on economic anthropology and how home ownership and property relations implicate and structure state power, capitalism, and everyday life in post-socialist China as well as among overseas Chinese.


Qian Zhu

Assistant Professor of Humanities, Duke Kunshan University

Qian Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Duke Kunshan University.

She received her BA and MA in History from Shandong University and her PhD in History from New York University (2011). She taught for four years at Wabash College in Indiana, and since 2016 she has been a Global Perspectives on Society Fellow at NYU-Shanghai. Dr. Zhu’s research focuses on Modern Chinese History and on China’s current global challenges. Her first project is a comparative and transnational inquiry of intellectual and cultural history focused on Chinese leftism and anti-colonialism in Southeast Asia, 19381948. She has a second project on feminism and everyday life in post-socialist China, which focuses on feminism in entrepreneurship, reproductive labor, and social welfare and is based in part on interviews with entrepreneurs and migrant workers in Shanghai as well as archival research and social media.


Yu Wang

Assistant Professor of Social Science, Duke Kunshan University

Yu Wang is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University.

She received her BS and MS in Sociology from Renmin University and her MS and PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2017). Her research focuses on the role of intermarriage and individual achievement as pathways to social mobility in China during a period of rapid economic, social, and demographic change, intergenerational mobility in China, and sexuality and reproductive behavior in the US. She currently studies the interaction between demographic changes and assortative mating in contemporary China. Her articles have appeared in journals, such as Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, American Journal of Public Health, and Contraception.