1:00-2:15 Panel 1 | Imagining Russia, Chile and Tibet
Chair: Ekim Buyuk
Panelists: Griffin Creech, Meghan Kachadoorian, Iris Kim
Discussants: Menaka Nayar, Bochen Han
2:15-3:30 Panel 2 | Human Rights and the U.S.: Domestic, Comparative and International Contexts
Chair: Rinzin Dorjee
Panelists: Bradford Ellison, Christie Lawrence, Imari Smith
Discussants: Tosin Agbabiaka, Laura Roberts
Tosin Agbabiaka, Duke alumnus (T’10)
Ekim Buyuk, Kenan Institute for Ethics Human Rights Fellow
Griffin Creech, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Rinzin Dorjee, Kenan Institute for Ethics Human Rights Fellow
Bradford Ellison, Duke University
Bochen Han, Kenan Institute for Ethics Human Rights Fellow
Meaghan Kachadoorian, Duke University
Iris Kim, Duke University
Christie Lawrence, Duke University
Menaka Nayar, Duke alumna (T’11, L’14)
Laura Roberts, Kenan Institute for Ethics Human Rights Fellow
Imari Smith, Duke University
Tosin Agbabiaka T’10 was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He relocated to Katy, Texas at the age of 12, where he completed his middle and high school education. He graduated from Duke with an A.B. in English and minors in Music and Sociology. At Duke, Tosin centered his work on critiquing historical and contemporary social stratification through studies in postcolonial literature, sociological theory, and creative writing. Upon graduating from Duke, Tosin worked with public, private, and social sector organizations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania through the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and developed policy recommendations on various European human rights and migration issues through Humanity in Action fellowships in Copenhagen and at the European Parliament in Brussels. Awarded a Fulbright-Schuman research scholarship for 2012-2013, Tosin conducted an analysis of the efficacy of EU and Greek mechanisms in addressing the asylum and undocumented migration crisis in Greece. Currently, Tosin is a 2nd year JD-MBA student at Yale University, where he is a student director of the Immigration Legal Services clinic, Vice President of the Black Law Students Association, and a member of the Africa Business Practicum and the Africa Law and Policy Association.
Menaka Nayar T’11, L’14 is a first year law clerk (pending admission to the NY Bar) at Linklaters LLP in New York, where she is a member of the International Governance and Development and Dispute Resolution practices. Her practice focuses on advancing good governance across the private and public (development and humanitarian) sectors. Representative projects with the public sector include: working with African Union states to develop governance frameworks to combat illicit financial flows; analysing stakeholder inputs for the Synthesis Report of the UN Secretary General at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit; and developing metrics to measure governance and the rule of law in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Her litigation pro bono practice includes projects on LGBT rights in El Salvador and the conviction and sentencing of battered women in US courts.
Prior to joining Linklaters LLP, Menaka attended Duke University School of Law, where she graduated with a JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law; and Duke University, where she obtained a BA in Political Science. While in law school, Menaka interned at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, the Durham District Attorney’s Office, and Linklaters LLP in New York and London. She also completed a semester-long externship in the chambers of the Co-Investigating Judge at the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia, and participated in the International Human Rights Advocacy seminar taught by Professor Jayne Huckerby. At Duke University, she was a participant in the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ DukeEngage Dublin program and also interned for Dublin City Council’s Office for Integration, working on issues relating to the integration of immigrants and refugees to Ireland. A classically trained dancer, Menaka was a member of Defining Movement – a multicultural dance group – throughout her Duke career.
Panel 1 | Imagining Russia, Chile and Tibet
Griffin Bennett Creech
Imagining Russia, Informing America: Samuel N. Harper, U.S. Public Opinion, and the Russian Revolution, 1916-1921
To historicize the foundations of American conceptions of the Soviet Union, I analyze Samuel Northrup Harper (1882-1943), a founder of Russian studies in the United States, a professor at the University of Chicago, and America’s leading “Russia expert” during the Russian Revolution. Drawing on Harper’s personal papers, memoirs, and a wide array of newspaper articles that he authored, I argue that the selective narrative of inevitable Russian progress that he spread to the American public, Washington bureaucrats, and the business community clashed with Russian political reality, particularly after the Bolshevik Revolution. The growing chasm between Harper’s trusted, yet subjective, views and the on-the-ground facts of Russian politics created a binary between the United States and Soviet Russia that pitted the two countries as polar opposites in the American mind. I show that Harper broadcasted this view widely and, thus, placed an intellectual straightjacket on American understandings of Russia.
Radical Aesthetics: Political Posters of the Chilean Solidarity Movement
This study of political posters from the international Chilean solidarity movement (1973-1990) seeks to uncover the political particularities between movement groups fighting against the oppressive Pinochet regime. In response to the violent fall of the democratically elected Socialist President, Dr. Salvador Allende, allies and Chilean exiles formed vibrant local solidarity movements. Posters from the Dutch movement, the East German movement, and the Bay Area movement show how uniquely situated people around the world responded to the fall of Allende and installation of the Pinochet dictatorship according to their different political experiences and current goals. In the Chilean solidarity movement, posters served as visual, public, street communication that, today, offer a look into the complexity of international solidarity amidst an ideological war.
Over the past ten years, “Tibet” has comparatively become more visible in South Korea as the Tibetan population in Korea has emerged and interest in Tibetan Buddhism and Tibet-related causes has grown. Despite this popular interest, Korea’s continual prioritization on economic development, which includes maintaining a strong economic relationship with China, has most notably prevented a visit by the Dalai Lama to Korea and discouraged overt forms of political activities. This thesis argues that in response to this precarious political environment, Koreans and Tibetans have turned to seemingly nonpolitical forms of connecting to Tibet or garnering interest about the Tibetan cause. These alternative, more powerful forms of politics – imagination (chapter one), Tibetan Buddhism (chapter two), and individual efforts on the ground expressed in mundane, everyday life, as well as marriage (chapter three) – have intimately brought together Tibetans and Koreans living in Korea.
Panel 2 | Human Rights and the U.S.: Domestic, Comparative and International Contexts
C Bradford Ellison
Imagining the Poor: The Discourse that Directs Western Intervention in Africa and its Impact on the Condition of American Poverty
This thesis unveils how dominant Western imaginings of Africa detrimentally impact poverty in the United States. The limitations of notable texts are presented, arguing they fail to recognize structured pressures that constrain those interpellated within Orientalist apparatuses, and states the suggestively depoliticized presence of Christian missionaries parallels secular Western governmental interventions, implicitly delegitimizing the African State. By considering the influence of representations of Africa by dominant media, university, and state ideological apparatuses the thesis illustrates how the repetition and replication of imagined narratives about the continent create an American culture of differential empathy, framing all Africans as inherently destitute and needy and poor Americans as lazy. Although a grim examination of the current state of affairs directing Western intervention in Africa and its impact on the condition of American poverty, the thesis ultimately offers a humanistic lens as an avenue towards the creation of more equitable social science and policy.
U.S.-Turkish Relations : Re-Stiuating the ‘Kurdish Question’ Graduation
Historically the “Kurdish Question,” or the political and social status of Turkey’s Kurds, has not played a significant role in U.S.-Turkish relations. However, the devolution of the peace process between the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and the Turkish state, the increasing importance of both the Kurds and Turkey in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the 2015 Turkish Parliamentary elections and other recent events have re-situated and further internationalized the “Kurdish Question”. These developments elucidate a dilemma: the United States must find a way to balance its new military cooperation with an ethnic minority against its security-focused relationship with the geostrategic NATO ally. Through a historical analysis of U.S.-Turkish relations regarding the Kurds, examination of U.S. national interests, and 24 elite interviews, this thesis seeks to answer: What should be U.S. foreign policy towards Turkey, considering the Turkish “Kurdish Question”? The thesis concludes with recommendations for the U.S. to prioritize the “Kurdish Question” and hold Turkey accountable for its human rights violations.
Imari Zhané Smith
Black Femininity through the White Speculum: The Implications of Medicosocialism and the Disproportionate Regulation of Black Women’s Reproductive Autonomy
At the crux of health disparities for women of color lies a history of maltreatment based on racial difference from their white counterparts. It is their non-whiteness that limits their access to the ideologies of “woman” and “femininity” within dominant culture. This project explores how the ideology attributed to the black female body limited black women’s access to “womanhood” within dominant culture, and analyzes the manners in which their reproductive autonomy was compromised as the result of changes to that ideology through time.The paper goes on to draw connections between post-slavery ideology of black femininity and modern-day medicosocial occurrences within clinical settings in order to advocate for increased bias training for medical professionals as a means of combating current health disparities.