Duke's global centers & initiatives

Asian Pacific Studies Institute

Mission Statement

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 2019-2020 Programs

In the 19-20 academic year, APSI’s highlights include helping a cohort of 12 students successfully complete their MA degree in spring 2020; collaboratively hosting well-known public intellectuals to give lectures at Duke; ollaborating with the Screen Society to organize a vibrant East Asian film series; and actively engaging the visiting Korean professionals through the Korean Research Fellows Programs.

For the MA program, we had one of the largest cohorts of students to graduate in the spring, under the difficult circumstance of a surging pandemic. All of the capstone defenses had to be rearranged to be conducted online. APSI staff worked closely with the faculty and the students to set up zoom sessions for the capstone defenses, and all 12 students defended their capstones successfully. We then hosted a virtual graduation ceremony to congratulate the students and bid them farewell. It was a difficult but memorial occasion. (One Liberal Studies graduate student also received a graduate certificate in East Asian Studies).

This academic year, we brought two prominent public intellectuals, Elizabeth Economy from the Council on Foreign Relations and Ramachandra Guha, a well-known historian of modern India, to give public lectures at Duke. Both events were a result of collaboration, with DUCIGS and GAI as APSI’s chief co-sponsors. The staff of our various offices collaborated in putting the events together, and both events addressed timely topics, drew large audiences, and had far-ranging follow-up discussions.

APSI also collaborated successfully with Duke’s Screen Society to put together a vibrant Cine-East Film Series. APSI’s faculty nominates the films, introduces them before the screening, and conducts Q&As after the screening whenever possible. The Screen Society’s new emphasis on new releases and art-house films and APSI’s focus on films relevant to our teaching and research allowed us to create a series that both highlighted some of the most prominent new films from East Asia as well as historically significant works such as the Memory Project.

For the Korean Research Fellows Program, one of the two visiting scholar programs APSI supports, APSI staff worked closely with the Korean Studies faculty to organize receptions, library orientations, and lectures. The events helped to create a sense of community among the fellows, introduced them to various Duke’s resources, and overall helped them to make the best use of their time at Duke to advance their professional training. We expect to face some challenges in the coming year due to the pandemic, as a few scholars have decided to leave Duke early to return to S Korea, while just about all incoming visiting scholars have asked to defer their visit to Duke till later in the semester. But we have built a solid foundation to support the program.

2019-2020 Notable Programs


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