Duke International Comparative Studies (ICS) April Events

Barely clothed child walks down a lonely road in the rain and mother and daughter hold hands down a cold and lonely road.

Mother in the Mist (2021) Special Screening + Q&A with Writer-Director, Kay Niuyue Zhang (ICS Alumna)

Icon calendar  Friday, April 08, 2022    Icon time  3:00 pm - 4:30 pm, Pink Parlor, East Duke Building    Icon speaker  Kay Niuyue Zhang

SPONSOR(S): International Comparative Studies (ICS)

Following Wuhan's Coronavirus lockdown, a rural single mother, Zhao, embarks on a dangerous journey in search of her preemie newborn baby stranded in Wuhan City Hospital. Joining her path is a mysterious eight-year-old girl, who shares the same determination to reunite with her mother in the city.

Director | Writer Kay Niuyue Zhang
Produced by Robin Zhongyu Wang; Kay Niuyue Zhang
Line Producer Robin Zhongyu Wang; Eris Yuanxin Zhao
Associate Producer & First Assistant Director Jiayun Li
Cinematographer Jiang Du
Editor Guangwei Du
Sound design and Mixer Lai Jiang
Composer Alvaro Balvin Benavides


Kay Niuyue Zhang is from Wuhan, China, and lives in Los Angeles. She graduated from Duke University with a BA in International comparative studies and History. Recently graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts MFA program, she is a recipient of the merit award of James Bridges and Jack Larson fund. She now works as a director and production coordinator for several successful production companies.  
As a director and producer, Kay made several short films and features that went to Oscar qualifying film festivals internationally such as San Diego IFF, SCAD Savannah FF, Flickers' Rhode Island IFF, St. Louis IFF, USA Film Festival, and Beijing IFF, and won the DGA Student Award Best Female Filmmaker, Gold Medalist of the 47th Student Academy Awards, and Special Jury Prize at the BAFTA Student Film Awards. Her projects are supported by Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, FOX Fellowship Endowment Fund, Moustapha and Malek Akkad Endowed Fund, Lisa Lu Foundation, Warner Brothers’ feature project with USC and several other generous funds. 
Her creativity is inspired by her experience as an international citizen who constantly crosses borders both physically and culturally. She surrounds her creative world with the subtle and sensitive experiences of marginalized and diasporic children and women.
Mother and daughter hold hands walking down cold and lonely street.







Herd Radicalization: Pandemic Inequality and the Remaking of Population 

Icon calendar  Thursday, April 14, 2022    Icon time. 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm, East Duke Building, Pink Parlor    Icon speaker  Neel Ahuja, Ph.D

SPONSOR(S): International Comparative Studies (ICS)

Building on themes from the book, Planetary Specters: Race, Migration, and Climate Change in the Twenty-First Century (2021), this presentation considers racial security logics emerging in the transition from the pre-pandemic construction of a climate migration threat to the era of COVID-19 lockdowns and health emergency. Tracking the reconstruction of race as population through early epidemiological, sociological, and geographic research on COVID-19 disparities, the presentation argues that the geographic frames of minoritization rescale race as public health institutions attempt to integrate the social and infrastructural components of risk into data surveillance. Analyzing the example of the racialization of the Herd Immunity Threshold, the presentation explores how emergent epidemiologies of COVID-19 configure racial inequality not only as differential vulnerability to illness and death but also to unequal immune labors required for the transition to endemic status


Barely clothed child walks down a lonely road in the rain.