Research News | Duke Kunshan University

Research News

Recent research highlights from Duke Kunshan University’s centers and programs, plus a few other places. Use the filter to narrow your search.

Reviewing the pathways used to achieve universal health coverage in China and Vietnam

The concept of universal health coverage sounds like a utopia for people in some countries and regions around the world, but it has been successfully implemented for years in China and Vietnam. Global health scientist Shenglan Tang and team explored the ways in which China and Vietnam have achieved universal health coverage through in-depth interviews with policymakers and secondary data analysis. The study finds that China has increased population coverage through strong political commitment and extensive government financial subsidies. Vietnam expanded population coverage gradually, by prioritizing the poor and the near-poor in an incremental way. Compared with Vietnam, China suffers from persistent disparities among population income levels and geographic location.

Integrated healthcare programs on chronic diseases in six countries in the Asia-Pacific region

With the growing demand for long-term care worldwide, integrated care facilities have become a necessity for many patients with chronic conditions. Global health scientist Shenglan Tang and team reviewed 87 integrated care programs for chronic diseases in electronic databases in six Asian countries, including China, India, and Singapore, and found that financial incentives have played a crucial role in facilitating integrated care and ensuring the sustainability of programs.  In many cases, the performance of programs was found not to have been adequately assessed.

Rhythm revolution: How music “modernized” China (1903-37)

Diverging from the existing musical scholarship that mostly takes for granted the symbiosis between “modern music” and “modern China," literary and cultural historian Xiangjun Feng’s essay published in Modern Chinese Literature and Culture treats music as a modernizing agent and pinpoints how exactly musical forms were transmitted into social forms and in this process acted to effect large-scale social change. Using 1930s Shanghai as an example, he argues that music “modernized” China most fundamentally through a “rhythm revolution.” This revolution not only redefined how musical rhythm should be perceived, practiced and visualized through a new notation system but also mediated a radically new conceptualization of modern time, one that was no longer an open-ended natural flux but a rationalized, standardized and measurable Clock Time, standing aloft from, and guiding the pace of, the modern life.

Analyzing Nanyang’s red tide of communism beyond the limits of historical narrative

In Southeast Asia in the first half of the 20th century, diverse trends in international thought and the awakening of national consciousness catalyzed various political movements in the context of colonialism. Particularly notable among them was the development of local organizations by the Nanyang and Malayan communist parties. Reviewing Anna Belogurova's book, "The Nanyang Revolution: The Comintern and Chinese Networks in Southeast Asia, 1890-1957," historian Qian Zhu considers it a valuable presentation of the transnational history of the Malayan Communist Party movement against the backdrop of anti-imperialism and nation-state development. "By exploring the role played by Chinese and overseas Chinese nationalists in the transnational anti-colonial movements of the early 20th century, this book is a unique attempt to move away from the narrative of orthodox historiography focusing on nation-state and party politics,” she says.

Testing legislator responsiveness to citizens and firms in the Vietnamese National Assembly

Responsive governments have the ability to make laws and decisions that reflect their constituents’ preferences. However, legislators may lack necessary information about constituents’ opinions and could therefore be unable to meet their demands. Political scientist Jason Todd and colleagues measured whether providing targeted information about citizens’ and firms’ preferences to members of the Vietnamese National Assembly (VNA) increased legislators’ responsiveness to constituent preferences about a proposed Vietnamese Law on Education (VLoE). VNA delegates who received information about their citizens’ preferences were more prepared and likely to speak in debates. However, delegates did not appear to be responsive to information about local companies’ preferences.

Being single does not drive young men to commit political violence

Whether on screen or in the newspapers, single men are often portrayed as terrorists and rebels, involved in the overwhelming majority of political violence. While this perception may hold true in individual cases, it is not statistically significant. In an article published by International Studies Quarterly, political scientist Tyler Kustra finds that, while the proportion of young men in a country has a statistically significant impact on the level of political violence there, whether or not these men are married has no additional effect. If participating in political violence caused young men to be single, this would have a negligible impact on a country's proportion of single young men, thereby explaining why marital status is uncorrelated with political violence at the national level. It would also explain why the individual-level evidence shows that most terrorists and guerillas are single.

Exploring psychological reactions to Covid-19

Individuals' perceptions of public events are often very different from their actual nature, and this has been particularly notable during the Covid-19 outbreak. Psychologist Shan Wang and colleagues collected survey data assessing perceived susceptibility, distress, mindfulness, and preventive health behaviors among Americans in April 2020. This data was used to evaluate relationships among demographic variables, Covid-19 stress and coping levels, Covid-19 preventive health behavior, and the role of mindfulness as a possible moderator of distress as well as a predictor of preventive health behavior. The availability of follow-up data allowed for longitudinal analyses that provided a stronger basis for causal inference.

Decoding pain expression

Recognizing others’ emotions from facial expressions is a necessary skill for adults. However, pain is less visible to observers than core emotions. Psychologist Shan Wang and her team investigated the mechanisms underpinning the recognition of pain expressions, in terms of spatial frequency (SF) information analysis and compared pain with two core emotions (fear and happiness). They found a temporal advantage of low-SF over high-SF information for expression recognition, including pain, and the recognition of pain was found to be slower and more difficult than core emotions.

Envisaging Chinese language pedagogy through the third space

Foreign language education needs to go beyond merely satisfying the desire of gazing at the other, whether out of curiosity or superiority, to focusing on learning to work with the other effectively, argues “The Third Space and Chinese Language Pedagogy: Negotiating Intentions and Expectations in Another Culture” (Routledge, 2020), co-edited by Xin Zhang of the Language and Culture Center. Presenting the third space as a new framework, this volume reimagines the field as co-constructing a transcultural third space where foreign-language learners are becoming experts in negotiating intentions and expectations in another culture.

Hidden from sight, inked in memory

Amid the uncertainty of 2020, DKU-Duke Global Fellow Cici Cheng contributed to a photographic series in response to ideas of invisibility in both private and public spaces. Her images, which explore how the mind works behind the camera, feature alongside other artists in the book “Big Backyard."

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