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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.

Shanghai’s elite ballrooms of the 1920s and ’30s

Writing in the journal Built Heritage, historian Andrew Field introduces seven ballrooms built in the 1920s and ’30s that reflect the architects’ ambition to create fantastical spaces for Shanghai’s elites to celebrate their status and socialize with other members of high society. These ballrooms featured technological wizardry such as sprung dance floors and sophisticated lighting, and one was decorated in the style of a traditional Chinese palace.

Health care’s impact on climate action plans

Countries that signed up to the Paris Agreement on climate change, including China, are expected to update their nationally determined contributions by 2020. As policymakers prepare their revised climate action plans, environmental health expert John Ji used a commentary in The Lancet Public Health to urge them to take into consideration the health care sector’s rising greenhouse gas emissions.

Alain Locke’s influence on the African American art scene

In an essay entitled Alain Locke’s New Negro: Of Words and Images, available in “Rethinking America’s Past: Voices from the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection,” Selina Lai-Henderson, a scholar of American literature and history, examines the understudied influence of intellectual Alain Locke on the African American art scene in the U.S. in the early 20th-century. She writes that Locke believed the diasporic nature of black art articulates the universality of human sufferings that cross and transcend cultural, linguistic and national boundaries.

Book Review: Was Carl Schmitt the ultimate liberal?

In the September 2019 edition of the European Constitutional Law Review, Laetitia Houben argues that political scientist Benjamin Schupmann’s 2017 book “Carl Schmitt’s State and Constitutional Theory: A Critical Analysis” is “recommended for anyone interested in Schmitt.” Schmitt is one of the 20th century’s most controversial constitutional theorists because of his relationship to Nazism. Despite controversy around Schmitt, Houben writes, Schupmann shows that Schmitt’s thought offers liberal democrats today “new insight into the problem of democratic suicide.”

The arguments against autonomous killing machines

In a paper on killer robots and human dignity accepted at the second annual ACM/AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Ethics and Society, philosophy professor Daniel Lim focuses on arguments against the development and use of lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) – AI killing machines – based on human dignity and suggests that a non-contingent ban on LAWS based on human dignity would be flawed.

Pig farm workers may offer swine flu answers

Swine influenza continues to pose a danger to people in both developed and developing countries. Infectious disease epidemiologist Gregory C. Gray says a five-year study at Chinese farms shows closer monitoring of workers with “intense” exposure to pigs could help prevent new strains of the virus.

Global warming and the rising tides of war

Climate change means that the very existence of some states is threatened due to environmental changes, such as rising sea levels. In a paper published in the Southern Journal of Philosophy, philosophy professor Kyle Fruh applies just war theory to argue that these states are entitled to defend themselves as if against a more traditional, kinetic threat to their sovereignty. The surprising implication is that a very conservative, consensus doctrine endorses a quite radical conclusion: By perpetrating climate change, we in the developed world are waging war on the less fortunate.

Sleep duration linked to increased risk of dementia

Studies have shown without question that sleep patterns can affect our health, but could sleeping too little or too much cause dementia? Epidemiologist Chenkai Wu and colleagues in Beijing conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis and discovered that long sleep duration is significantly linked with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

The lives of household workers in pre-colonial Bengal ports

Writing in a special issue of the International Review of Social History, historian Titas Chakraborty examines the various experiences of slavery and freedom among female household workers in the ports of Bengal operated by the Dutch East India Co. and the English East India Co. in the early 18th century.

Exploring risk management for Indian rice farmers

Agricultural activities across India are dependent upon the summer monsoon, and any aberration in rainfall patterns can have severe consequences for rice production. Patrick Ward, an agricultural economist, conducted a field experiment in Odisha state with two risk management options: A drought‐tolerant rice cultivated variety (cultivar) and a weather index insurance product designed to complement the performance of the cultivar.