Duke's global centers & initiatives

Asian Pacific Studies Institute

Mission Statement

The Asian/Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) fosters an active community of scholars of East and Southeast Asia, promotes the highest standards of undergraduate and graduate education in Asian Studies, enhances awareness of Asian cultures at Duke and across the Triangle, and provides academic and cultural resources about Asia to schools, colleges and universities in the southeastern United States.

Summary of 2021-2022 Programs

The Asian/Pacific Studies Institute (APSI) continues to be the focal point for research, teaching and events related to Asia at Duke. Over the past year APSI maintained a robust schedule of Asia-related events, funded students and faculty for numerous research and travel opportunities, developed collaborative relationships with institutions in East Asia, hosted visiting scholars, and successfully administered an MA and two certificate programs in East Asian Studies.   

 APSI graduated a total of six students in 2022, including two respectively from the MA program, and graduate and undergraduate certificates.   Although restrictions were gradually loosened, the past year continued to be a challenge for students facing a number of pandemic-related constraints.  Despite this, APSI maintained a sense of community both through academic engagement and a number of social activities.  One popular activity that brought together faculty, staff and students was an outdoor gathering held at the Asiatic Arboretum done in collaboration with curators from Duke Gardens.       

 APSI had an active year of events in 2021-22. Our signature APSI Speaker Series brought in nine experts to share their work on a diverse array of topics relevant to the region. Talks ranged from Murray Hiebert’s exploration of geopolitics in Southeast Asia during the Xi era to China’s “coercive environmentalism” as explored by eminent environmental historian Judith Shapiro and co-author Yifei Li. Headlining the spring series, Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in Biography, Amy Stanley, discussed her latest book, Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World. Prof. Stanley’s talk was the first in-person event APSI hosted since the pandemic shifted events online in early 2020.  

 In addition to the speaker events, APSI continued to support the China Innovation Series hosted by Duke’s Senior Adviser to the President for China Affairs, Denis Simon. Simon brought in a number of outside experts in the science and technology and innovation fields to comment on trending topics in the China sphere. Talks such as “The Rise of the Chinese Techno-Security State Under Xi Jinping” by UCSD’s Tai Ming Cheung and “Cybersecurity, Innovation, and US-China Tech Competition,” delivered by Adam Segal of the Council on Foreign Relations, offered unique perspectives on China’s domestic affairs, global positioning, and trajectory as technological juggernaut.  

 Our student-centered series, the Asia-Pacific Forum (AP Forum), continued to provide a venue for students to share their research and network with colleagues. In addition to featuring APSI Summer Research Fellowship recipients and those presenting their MA thesis work, for the first time, the series also invited EAS graduate certificate students in the professional schools to present. Twelve students in total shared their work in an online format.  

 Beyond these in-house series, APSI collaborated with a number of partner units to support broader Asian Studies and diaspora programming on campus including talks, films, and a musical performance: “Korean Music meets European Avant-garde.” One especially successful collaboration was between APSI, AAHVS, and Screen Society, which brought world-renowned Godzilla scholar, William Tsutsui, to campus to discuss Mothra following a screening of the film at the Rubenstein Arts Center. APSI also partnered with Duke Libraries’ International and Area Studies (IAS) department to commemorate the 30th year anniversary of East Asian Collections at Duke.  

 As in years past, APSI provided numerous funding opportunities to students and faculty enhancing the Asian Studies academic presence at Duke. In terms of student support, APSI awarded over twenty grants enabling undergraduate, MA, and PhD students to conduct research in the region, present at academic conferences, and receive advanced language training both in the US and Asia. This year, APSI awarded Katherine Gan the Kristina Troost Prize for the best undergraduate project in East Asian Studies for their honors project “Tracing Desire and Exploitation of Korean Women: A Cruelty Special to Our Species”.  

 Further opportunities for Duke students were fostered by APSI’s continued partnership with Meiji University in Tokyo, where an exchange program has been running since 2012, and recent partnership with top-ranked National Tsing Hua University (NTHU) in Taiwan. The latter collaboration paved the way for six Duke undergraduates to study Chinese language and engage in community service in Taiwan’s tech capital of Hsinchu.  

2021-2022 Notable Programs



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