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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.

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.”

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.

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.