The center brings together students and scholars at Duke Kunshan University, Wuhan University, and other institutions across China and around the world to pursue a common scholarly interest in contemporary Chinese affairs. Many of the center’s activities are open to the broader community. 

Melanie Manion

Co-Director, Center for the Study of Contemporary China; Vor Broker Family Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Duke University

Melanie Manion is Vor Broker Family Professor of Political Science at Duke University. She studied philosophy and political economy at Peking University in the late 1970s, was trained in Far Eastern studies at McGill University and the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and earned her doctorate in political science at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on contemporary authoritarianism, with empirical work on bureaucracy, corruption, information, and representation in China. She is the recipient of numerous research awards, including awards from the National Science Foundation, Fulbright Foundation, Social Science Research Council, and American Council of Learned Societies. Her newest research investigates the political selection of “winners” in China’s ongoing anticorruption campaign. Recent research, in collaboration with Charles Chang, analyzes social media self-censorship in China. Her most recent book, Information for Autocrats (Cambridge University Press, 2015), examines representation in Chinese local congresses. Previous publications include Retirement of Revolutionaries in China (Princeton University Press, 1993), Corruption by Design (Harvard University Press, 2004), and Contemporary Chinese Politics: New Sources, Methods, and Field Strategies (edited with Allen Carlson, Mary Gallagher, and Kenneth Lieberthal, Cambridge University Press, 2010). Her articles have appeared in journals including American Political Science ReviewComparative Political Studies, and China Quarterly. She is an award-winning teacher.

Baozhen M. Luo-Hermanson

Co-Director, Center for the Study of Contemporary China; Professor of Global Health, Duke Kunshan University

Baozhen M. Luo-Hermanson is Professor of Global Health at Duke Kunshan University.

Her research interest centers on population aging, social change, and welfare policies within a global context. Her current research examines long-term care experiences, practices, and policies in China. Her teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include global aging and societies, comparative aging policies, China in the world, and contemporary Chinese society.

Her work has been published in The GerontologistJournal of Aging Studies, Journal of Chinese GovernanceAging and SocietyForeign Affairs, and other venues. She is the editor of Research Handbook on the Sociology of Ageing (Edward Elgar, 2023, co-edited with Andreas Motel-Klingebiel and Liam Foster). She was elected a fellow of Gerontological Society of America in 2017. She held a column Four Dimension Channel 四维频道 focusing on aging policies and practices at 澎湃新闻between 2015 and 2018 and appears frequently on China’s Global Television Network (CGTN) as a commentator.

Luo has a B.A. in journalism from Nanjing University, China, an M.A., and an PhD in sociology from Georgia State University, where she also obtained a graduate certificate in gerontology. Before joining Duke Kunshan, she was professor of sociology at Western Washington University, the U.S.

Chi Zhang

Senior Program Coordinator, Center for the Study of Contemporary China

Chi Zhang is the Senior Program Coordinator for the Center.

Her primary responsibilities include grant management, event organization, administrative and operational support for the Center, and collaborating with research units to enhance research capacity throughout the university. Chi holds a Master’s degree in Socio-Cultural Anthropology from Durham University. Prior to this role, she served as the administrator for both the Center for the Study of Contemporary China and the Humanities Research Center at Duke Kunshan University.