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.

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.

Tiejia Temple and the Chinese Daoist Association’s green agenda

Since 1995, the Chinese Daoist Association (CDA) has pursued a green agenda through declarations, statements and an eight-year plan, and has built the Tiejia “ecology temple” in northwest China in collaboration with a Dutch businessman. An analysis paper co-authored by Daoism expert James Miller argues that these activities reveal an increasing globalization and juridification of environmental discourse in Chinese Daoist temples, presenting opportunities for the CDA to enhance supervision of local religious activities.

Slave trading and resistance in the Indian Ocean

At the height of their power, the Dutch East India Co. and English East India Co. exported slaves from Bengal and imported slaves from all over the Indian Ocean littoral. In her examination of slavery and abolition in the early 18th-century Bengal, historian Titas Chakraborty shows that settlement slaves utilized their cultural backgrounds as well as their knowledge of diverse cultural and political milieus in creating a cosmopolitan culture of resistance.

Catching up with the runaway effect

During global capitalism's long ascent from 1600 to 1850, workers of all kinds — slaves, indentured servants, convicts, domestic workers, soldiers and sailors — repeatedly ran away from their masters, with profound effects. “A Global History of Runaways,” a collection of essays co-edited by historian Titas Chakraborty, compares and connects runaways across multiple empires and show how the vast numbers of mobile workers built the foundations of a new economic order, and challenged that order. The book also includes Chakraborty’s essay on the desertion of European sailors and soldiers.

How abolitionist ideas influenced W.E.B. Du Bois

Writing in the journal Socialism and Democracy, history professor Jesse Olsavsky explores the way antislavery political thought influenced the intellectual trajectories of W.E.B. Du Bois, the American sociologist and author, and other pan-Africanist thinkers. In particular, the essay shows how abolitionist ideas influenced Pan-African writings on world history, and shaped their critiques of Western colonialism and capitalism.

Can virtues of inquiry combat epistemologies of ignorance

In an essay on epistemic virtues that features in “Overcoming Epistemic Injustice: Social and Psychological Perspectives,” philosophy professor Emily McWilliams writes on the habits and practices of inquiry that promote problematic ignorance at the individual, psychological level. She argues against a popular view that it may be possible to develop virtues of inquiry that help overcome pernicious and ignorance-promoting habits.

Book review: Understanding the future of warfare

“Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War” by award-winning author Paul Scharre “leaves no stone unturned in navigating the complicated, and often technical, terrain” of lethal autonomous weapons, philosophy professor Daniel Lim and undergraduate student Runya Liu write in a review published by the Journal of Military Ethics. Lim and Liu also talked to Scharre for a podcast interview.

Fugitive slaves and vigilance committees

In an essay published in “A Global History of Runaways,” historian Jesse Olsavsky examines the history of the American antislavery organizations known as “vigilance committees.” These committees defended African American neighborhoods in U.S. cities from police and slave catchers, plotted slave insurrections, helped thousands of slaves run off from American plantations, and helped spark the American Civil War.

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