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Modern Revolutions in Ancient Civilizations: A Conversation with Peter Hessler and Kaiser Kuo


Peter Hessler (The New Yorker), Kaiser Kuo (Sinica Podcast)

In this Sinica live taping, legendary podcast host Kaiser Kuo will sit down with acclaimed writer Peter Hessler to discuss his work on China and Egypt.

Introduction by Ralph Litzinger, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology.

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Note: Following the conversation, Peter Hessler will sign copies of Strange Stones and The Buried (30 copies of each book will be available on-site for purchase via our colleagues at the Gothic Bookshop).

Be sure to also catch Peter Hessler's keynote talk, Reporting in China and Egypt: Finding Stories from the Nile to the Yangtze, at 5:30PM on Thursday, Nov. 9!

About the speakers:
Kaiser Kuo

Kaiser Kuo is the host of the Sinica Podcast, the leading English-language podcast on current affairs in China, which he co-founded in 2010. He was the founding lead guitarist of the seminal Chinese heavy metal band Tang Dynasty and continued to be active in rock music in China until 2016. After several years as a reporter covering tech and society in China in the 2000s, he joined Baidu, China's leading search engine, as director of international communications. Since 2016, when The China Project acquired the Sinica Podcast, he has served as Head of Podcasts and edits and produces several podcasts under The China Project. He lives in Chapel Hill but is neutral when it comes to basketball allegiances.

Peter Hessler

Since 2000, Peter Hessler has been a staff writer at The New Yorker. He first went to live in China's Sichuan province as a Peace Corps volunteer, from 1996 to 1998, an experience that became the subject of his first book, River Town. With Hessler's next two books, Oracle Bones and Country Driving, he completed a trilogy of reported works that spanned a decade in China. In 2011, he moved with his family to Cairo, where he lived for five years. His fifth book, The Buried, described his experiences during the Egyptian Arab Spring.

In 2019, Hessler returned to China, where he taught for two years at Sichuan University. He also covered the pandemic for The New Yorker, reporting from Wuhan and other cities. This experience is the subject of his newest book, Other Rivers, which will be published summer 2024. Hessler currently lives in southwestern Colorado with his wife, the writer Leslie T. Chang, and their twin daughters.

This event is co-sponsored by APSI, the Duke University Middle East Studies Center (DUMESC) and the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (AMES) with support from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund.

Location & Parking Information

The Nasher Museum is nestled within the university’s central campus, at Campus Drive and Duke University Road, across from the Rubenstein Arts Center and near the Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

Duke's C1 East-West bus route stops nearby at Campus Dr. and Anderson St.

Visitor parking, including accessible parking and passenger drop-off, is available near the Nasher Museum. Due to construction, the parking entrance from Duke University Rd. may be closed; the lot is accessible via the entrance on Campus Drive.

For the most current parking information, please visit the Nasher's website. Parking attendants will be on-site to provide guidance and directions.

Public Transit

Visitors to Duke can also consider taking public transit. GoDurham and GoTriangle buses are fare-free through July 1, 2024; GoDurham #6 stops at Duke University Rd and Anderson St., next to the Nasher Museum.

For those coming from UNC Chapel Hill, the Robertson Express bus runs daily between the Morehead Planetarium and Science Drive Circle. It is a short walk from Science Drive to Abele Quad, where the C1 East-West bus is located.