Freshman Orientation to Social Science (FOSS) | Duke Kunshan University

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Freshman Orientation to Social Science (FOSS)

Duke Kunshan University’s Freshman Orientation to Social Science happens soon after each fall semester begins. The center organizes a nearly all-day teaching session for freshmen with an interest in the social sciences. The session introduces Duke Kunshan University undergraduates to fundamental concerns and selected important topics in empirical research in the social sciences. It offers undergraduate students the opportunity to learn the steps of conducting rigorous and systematic research in social science. Students would participate in three 45-minute topic modules—one in the morning, two in the afternoon. They assemble together for lunch and a presentation by an invited speaker that traces step-by-step progress on a particular puzzle from his or her social science research agenda.

Who is eligible to register?

The orientation is designed for Duke Kunshan University freshman with an interest in social science. It is free to the university’s students, but the number of places is limited. Pre-registration is required. Students receive course materials and a class schedule by e-mail after successful registration online.

When and how to register?

Registration online in early September (2019 FOSS Coming Soon)

Other questions?

Contact Chi Zhang at

Andrew MacDonald is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University. He received his BA in in History and MA in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and his Master of Philosophy and PhD in Politics from Oxford University (2015). He was a Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Asian Democracy at the University of Louisville in 2017-2017. Dr. MacDonald’s primary interest is in finding new ways of unlocking data to better understand individual level outcomes in China. His research focuses on service provision in authoritarian regimes and the incentive structure of developing nations in providing social welfare benefits as well as how individuals are impacted by and react to state narratives and ideology. At Duke Kunshan University, his teaching interests include Political Economy, Institutions and Governance, and Political Science.  

Mengqi Wang is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University. She received her BA in Economics and in Chinese and Media Studies from Beijing Normal University, and her MA and PhD in Anthropology from Brandeis University (2017). Dr. Wang’s research focuses on economic anthropology and how home ownership and property relations implicate and structure state power, capitalism, and everyday life in post-socialist China as well as among overseas Chinese. At Duke Kunshan University, her teaching interests include Cultures and Movements, Global China Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, and Economics.   

Yu Wang is an Assistant Professor of Social Science at Duke Kunshan University. She received her BS and MS in Sociology from Renmin University and her MS and PhD in Sociology from the University of WisconsinMadison (2017). Her research focuses on the role of intermarriage and individual achievement as pathways to social mobility in China during a period of rapid economic, social, and demographic change. A second line of her research is sexuality and reproductive behavior in the US. Her current project is about the interaction between demographic changes and assortative mating in contemporary China. Her articles have appeared in journals, such as Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, American Journal of Public Health, and Contraception.

Cai (Vera) Zuo is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Fudan University. She earned her bachelor degree in political science and public administration at Peking University and earned her doctorate in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before working at Fudan, she worked as a visiting assistant professor at the Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Her research focuses on the political institution and political economy of developing countries, with empirical work on cadre management system and policy innovation in China. Her articles have appeared in journals including China Quarterly, European Political Science, and China Review. Other publications include Trade-offs and Developments in Research Methods of Political Science (in Chinese, Fudan University Press, 2017). Her current research analyzes the endogenous nature of formal political selection institutions in China and compares cadre management reforms between China and Vietnam.