Board of Stakeholders | Duke Kunshan University

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Board of Stakeholders

Professors Yu Wang, Melanie Manion, and other executive committee members consult regularly with a larger board of stakeholders.

Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies, Duke University

Prasenjit Duara is the Oscar Tang Chair of East Asian Studies at Duke University. Born and educated in India, he received his PhD in Chinese history from Harvard University (1983).

He was Professor of History and East Asian Studies at University of Chicago (1991–2008) and Raffles Professor and Director of Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore (2008–2015). His books include Culture, Power and the State: Rural North China, 1900-1942 (Stanford University Press, 1988), winner of the Fairbank Prize of the American Historical Association and Levenson Prize of the Association of Asian Studies; Rescuing History from the Nation (University of Chicago Press, 1995); Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003); and The Crisis of Global Modernity: Asian Traditions and a Sustainable Future (Cambridge University Press, 2014). He was awarded the doctor philosophiae honoris causa from the University of Oslo in 2017.


Director of Asian/Pacific Studies Institute, Duke University

Richard Jaffe is Director of the Asian/Pacific Studies Institute and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Duke University.

He received his BA from San Francisco State University and his MA and PhD from Yale University (1995). His research focuses on Japanese Buddhism during the early modern and modern periods, Asian Buddhist modernism, pan-Asianism, and nationalism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is author of Neither Monk nor Layman: Clerical Marriage in Modern Japanese Buddhism (Princeton University Press, 2000) as well as numerous articles in scholar journals. He is editor of Selected Works of D. T. Suzuki, Zen Works (University of California Press, 2014). He has received awards from the National Humanities Center and the American Council on Learned Societies.


Gilhuly Family Professor of Sociology and Public Policy, Duke University 

Lisa Keister is Gilhuly Family Professor of Sociology and Public Policy.

She is also a Faculty Research Scholar in the Duke Population Research Initiative and the Duke Network Analysis Center. She is an economic sociologist who conducts research on wealth inequality and organizational strategy. Her work on China has primarily focused on how firms adapted to the country’s economic transition and has appeared in many journals as well as volumes such as Chinese Business Groups (Oxford University Press, 2000) and Organizations and Management in China (Routledge, 2016, with Yanlong Zhang). She is currently completing work on wealth inequality, including research that looks at China’s wealthiest families. In addition to her work on China, Keister studies wealth ownership and inequality in the United States. She is author of Wealth in America (Cambridge University Press, 2000) Getting Rich (Cambridge University Press, 2005) and Faith and Money: How Religious Belief Contributes to Wealth and Poverty (Cambridge University Press, 2011). Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Russell Sage Foundation, and other organizations.


Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University

Ralph Litzinger is Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University. His early research focused on the culture and politics of ethnicity, nationalism, and post-socialism in China.

He has published on Marxist nationality theory in China, on ethnic politics in the post-Cold War global order, on gender and ethnic representation, and on ethnographic film, photography, and popular culture. His Other Chinas: The Yao and the Politics of National Belonging (Duke University Press, 2000) was the first major ethnographic study to examine the work and writing of minority intellectuals in the imagining of post-socialist futures. His more recent research engages with questions of border ecologies, bio-politics, activism and advocacy in labor, and migrant education rights. He has published key essays on the transnational and media dimensions of anti-dam protest in southwest China; on global environmental NGOs and the privatization of nature; on self-immolation among Tibetans; on transnational activism directed at Apple and the companies that source its supply chain; and on the emerging field of global media ecologies. He is the co-editor of Ghost Protocols: Development and Displacement in Global China (Duke University Press, 2016) and is currently working on two book projects: Migrant Futures: Education and Labor in Global China and Black Lung: An Ethnography of Dust, the latter a collaborative project with former students, miners, and labor activists in China.  


Professor of Public Policy, Sociology, and Global Health, Duke University 

M. Giovanna Merli is Professor of Public Policy, Sociology and Global Health at Duke University, Director of the NIH-funded Duke Population Research Center, and a member of the Duke Global Health Institute.

She holds a BA in China Studies from the University of Venice, an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a PhD in Demography from the University of Pennsylvania (1996). Substantively, her research has focused on a range of population and health issues in developing countries that intersect frontline public policy, such as the role of China’s population control program in lowering fertility preferences and fertility rates in China, the social and behavioral determinants of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in China and Sub-Saharan Africa and, more recently, Chinese international migrants’ motivations for migration and their assimilation processes at destination in the United States, Africa, and Europe. A significant component of her research has been devoted to data collection: the design and conduct of surveys of sexual behavior and ego-centric sexual networks, the conduct and evaluation of innovative network-based sampling approaches to recruit samples of hidden and rare populations such as those at risk of HIV/STDs as well as migrants, and the implications of the political and social context of data collection for the validity of the information collected in social surveys. Her research has been funded by multiple NIH grants and published in the top U.S. and European outlets of demography, sociology, China studies and public health. She is serving and has served as a permanent or ad-hoc member of many review panels for the NIH.


Executive Vice Chancellor, Duke Kunshan University

Denis Simon is Executive Vice Chancellor of Duke Kunshan University. Dr.

Simon joined the university from Arizona State University, where he served as senior adviser to the president for China-related strategic initiatives, executive director of the University Design Institute, and Foundation Professor of Contemporary Chinese Affairs in the School of Politics and Global Studies.


Dr. Simon previously held international affairs leadership positions and faculty appointments at several universities in the United States and China. An expert on the role of science and technology in international relations, he also has extensive private sector experience, having held China-based leadership roles at both Monitor Consulting Group and Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). He has written and lectured widely regarding innovation, high technology development, foreign investment and corporate strategy in the Pacific-Rim and is frequently quoted in the Western and Asian business press regarding commercial and technology trends in China, Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region.


Having first visited Asia in 1976 and the China mainland in 1981, Dr. Simon has developed an extensive network of professional relationships throughout business, government, and academia in the region. A member of the editorial boards of Chinese Management Studies and the Journal of Science and Technology Policy in China, he also has served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on technology and innovation matters related to China. He is a member of the American Experts Group within the U.S.-China Innovation Dialogue organized by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. In 2006, he received the China National Friendship Award from former Premier Wen Jiabao, China’s highest form of recognition for foreign experts.


Dr. Simon received his BA in Asian Studies from the State University of New York and his MA in Asian Studies and PhD in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley (1980).