• James B. Duke Professor of Asian Studies and Political Science
  • 864.294.3150
  • JH 111F
  • kate.kaup@furman.edu

Katherine Palmer Kaup's research focuses on ethnic minorities and rule of law developments in China. She is the author of "Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China," several articles and chapters on ethnic minorities, and editor and contributor to the textbook, "Understanding Contemporary Asia." She won the China Quarterly Gordon White Award in 2002 for her article "Regionalism Versus Ethnicnationalism in the People's Republic of China." She is currently on sabbatical and serving as visiting scholar at Yunnan Nationalities University where she is researching rule of law developments in China's border regions. She has served as a visiting scholar at both the Yunnan Nationalities Institute and the Guangxi Ethnic Affairs Commission.

In 2005, Kaup served as special adviser for Minority Nationalities Affairs at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and was a 2008-2011 National Committee on United States-China Relations Public Intellectuals Fellow. She regularly leads groups to China, including Congressional staff delegations, museum and alumni tours, and student groups, and has served as an expert witness for a Congressional Staff Roundtable on human rights in Xinjiang. She has served as program director and principal investigator for the U.S. State Department-funded Furman-Suzhou Intensive Summer Institute and for Furman's federally-funded Startalk Chinese Camp.

Experience in Asia

  • Princeton-in-Asia Fellow, Beijing 1990-91; IUP Chinese Language Studies in Taipei 1992-93
  • Visiting Scholar at the Yunnan Nationalities University 1995, 1999, 2012-13
  • Visiting Scholar at Guangxi Ethnic Affairs Commission 1995, 1999
  • Academic Travel Abroad Program Director for China, Japan, and Vietnam 1996-7
  • American Museum of Natural History Study Leader 1998; Fall in China Director at East China Normal University 1999, 2001
  • Fall in China Director at Soochow University 2009; Summer China Experience Director 2008, 2012
  • China In Depth Study Leader 2010; Congressional Staff Delegation Scholar Escort 2008
  • National Committee on United States-China Relations Public Intellectuals Fellow Tour 2009; Young Scholars and Experts Taiwan Tour Hosted by the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2010
  • Co-director India Study Away Program 2011.
Name Title Description



The course allows majors to investigate Asia" as a conceptual and geopolitical space and to critically investigate the discipline. Preparation for upper-level courses across the geographic and disciplinary distributions."


Seminar in Asian Studies

Capstone experience for majors in the discipline. Varied topics.


Chinese Studies Thesis

Guided research, translation, and writing on a topic in a field of Chinese Studies in which the student has had previous course work. The student will propose a thesis project to a faculty member in the field of Chinese Studies who by approving it becomes the thesis advisor.


Minority Rights

Exactly which groups should have what rights? Do collective group rights protect minorities or undermine individual liberties? By comparing social, political, economic, and international factors that contribute to the creation of minority identities and maintenance of minority-majority relations in several different countries, students will explore and debate definitions of justice, equity, and rights.


China and the Environment

The origin of China's current environmental crisis and policy recommendations for improving its environment using a multidisciplinary approach. Introduction of the science behind key environmental issues facing China and how political, social and economic factors impact China's natural environment and prospects for its preservation.


Introduction to World Politics

Examination of similarities and differences between the institutions, processes and policies of selected nations, in the context of globalization and the evolution of international politics.


Politics of Developing Nations

Introduction to politics of the non-Western nations, with emphasis on the political development of the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America. Presentation of a comparative framework for understanding diverse political cultures.


Politics of China

Examination of the political, social and economic factors affecting the Chinese Communist Party and its relationship to the Chinese citizenry. Analysis of the domestic and international challenges confronting the Chinese state.


Politics of Asia

Examination of one of the world's most dynamic regions. Common issues facing disparate regimes will be explored through case studies from Communist regimes, military and transitional systems, and restricted democracies. The region's changing international role and influence will be discussed.


Capstone Seminar in Poli Sci

Reading, research and writing course for majors that covers a specific topic in political science.

  • Visiting Scholar, Yunnan Nationalities University 2012-13
  • James B. Duke Chair of Asian Studies and Political Science, lifetime appointment awarded 2010
  • Public Intellectuals Fellow: National Committee on United States-China Relations, 2008-2011
  • Senior Adviser for Minority Nationality Affairs, Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 2005
  • Gordon White Award: China Quarterly, 2002.
  • Understanding Contemporary Asia Pacific (editor and contributor) (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007). Also published in Korean;
  • Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000); 建构壮族:中国的少数民族政策和他的影响 [translation by the Yunnan Zhuang Studies Association of Creating the Zhuang: Ethnic Politics in China, forthcoming];
  • "Tensions and Violence in China's Minority Regions," in China Beyond the Headlines, Volume 3 Lionel Jenson and Timothy Westin (eds.) (New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012);
  • "Field Research," in Doing Political Science Research, Liz Smith and Akan Malici (eds) (Routledge, 2012);
  • Human Rights in Xinjiang: Recent Developments (Washington: Congressional-Executive Commission on China), expert witness for Congressional Staff Roundtable on February 13, 2009;
  • "Chapter 1: Introduction" and "Chapter 4: Politics in the Asia Pacific" and "Chapter 10: Ethnicity," in Understanding the Contemporary Asia Pacific (editor and contributor) (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2007);
  • "Special Focus 2005: China's Minorities and Government Implementation of Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law," and "North Korean Refugees in China," (lead author) Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2005 Annual Report;
  • "Regionalism versus Ethnicnationalism in the People's Republic of China" China Quarterly (December 2002;
  • Winner 2002 Gordon White Award); "China: Ethnic Conflict in the World's Largest Multinational State," in Joseph Rudolph (ed) Encyclopedia of Modern Ethnic Conflict (Westport: Greenwood Press, 2003).
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