Apr 142018
 April 14, 2018


The Duke Human Rights Center at The Kenan Institute for Ethics will be holding its fourth annual Scholars Research Symposium on Saturday, April 14. The symposium, which is sponsored by the Kenan Institute’s Global Human Rights Scholars, provides an opportunity for a select group of seniors at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to publicly present honors or capstone projects that broadly relate to the themes of human rights, ethics, or international politics. This event is open to the public, and particularly for faculty, students and alumni of both Duke and UNC .

Saturday, April 14
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101), starting at 1:00 pm

Please fell free to come for one or both panels

Introduction and Welcome – Suzanne Katzenstein

Panel 1 | 1 to 2:15 p.m. | Migration: Representation, Narrative, and Policy

  • Chair: Julia Kaufman
  • Panelists: Maura Smyles, Emily Venturi, Catherine Ward,
  • Discussants: Tosin Agbabiaka and Robert Carlson

The Impact of Legal Representation for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the United States  – Maura Smyles
Migration Management and Development Policy Issue-Linkage in European Union External Relations  – Emily Venturi
Repositioning Home: Performing and Reconstructing Identity in the Migration Narrative – Catherine Ward

Panel 2 | 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. | Colonial Legacies and Retreat, and Communities Divided

  • Chair: June Eric-Udorie
  • Panelists: Rebekah Cockram, Danielle Dvir, Morgan Vickers
  • Discussants: Katherine Gan and Menaka Nayar

Cession and Retreat: Negotiating Hong Kong’s Future, 1979-1984.” – Rebekah Cockram
Colonial Legacies of Global Medicine and Pharma – Danielle Dvir
Community Divided: Relationally Reconstructing the Lynching of Eugene Daniel – Morgan Vickers

Selected Presenters

  • Rebekah Cockram, History and Political Science, UNC, 2018
  • Danielle Dvir, History, Duke 2018
  • Maura Smyles, Public Policy, Duke 2018
  • Emily Venturi, Political Science and Economics, UNC, 2018
  • Morgan Vickers, Communication Studies and American Studies, UNC, 2018
  • Catherine Ward, English, Duke 2018

Global Scholars

  • Robert Carlson, Duke, 2020
  • Amelia Cheatham, Duke 2018
  • June Eric-Udorie, Duke 2021
  • Katherine Gan, Duke 2021
  • Julia Kaufman, Duke 2018

Alumni Discussants

  • Tosin Agbabiaka, Trinity ‘10
  • Menaka Nayar, Trinity ’11 and Law ’14
Panel 1 | Migration: Representation, Narrative, and Policy


The Impact of Legal Representation for Unaccompanied Immigrant Children in the United States  – Maura Smyles

Unlike US criminal courts, US immigration courts do not offer any guarantee of legal counsel to those who cannot afford it, even to children who are separated from their parents. To illustrate the implications of this policy, the purpose of this study is to examine the impact of legal representation on the legal outcomes of unaccompanied immigrant children in the United States. Through interviews with legal service providers and regression analysis of deportation rates and representation rates for immigrant children since 2005, I find that further investment in legal representation programs that serve unaccompanied immigrant children in removal proceedings would benefit this vulnerable population by providing them greater access to legal and technical support services and leading to a decrease in the rate at which they are deported.

Migration Management and Development Policy Issue-Linkage in European Union External Relations  – Emily Venturi

After establishing the emergence of migration as an EU foreign policy priority, this article evaluates the contributing factors and preliminary outcomes of the linkage of migration management to development policy in EU external governance. With Italy as an EU member state case study and Senegal as a non-EU partner country case study, the study draws evidence from expert interviews conducted between May 2017 and July 2017 with EU officials, Senegalese and Italian governments representatives, and civil society actors. The impacts of issue-linkage on development cooperation ranged from micro-level project management to macro-level tensions surrounding conditionality and the EU’s role as a development actor. The impacts of issue-linkage on migration management included the stagnation of legal migration, human rights protection, and readmission efforts. Overall, the study argues that securitization compromises EU-Senegal joint efforts to link migration and development policy. This research contributes to the emerging discussion on the long-term consequences of the EU’s current short-term security priority of reducing irregular migration.

Repositioning Home: Performing and Reconstructing Identity in the Migration Narrative – Catherine Ward

Home is complicated. It’s this messy ideal we all hold, while struggling to clearly define it. Home, or lack of home, is part of an individual’s identity.  Amidst recent media surge surrounding forced migration, Warsan Shire’s poem “Home” has become something of a rallying cry. She opens, “no one leaves home/ unless home is the mouth of a shark” (1-2). Well, if it is the mouth of a shark, a visceral image striking a reader with distinct feelings of fear and sorrow, is it even home at all? How can it be? Does one’s notion of home change in migration? My thesis seeks to answer these questions, taking into account three fictional women rooted ancestrally in Africa and socio-culturally tied to Nigeria, America, France, and Guadeloupe. Through analyzing the stories of these women, my thesis explores what effect home has on a migrant’s sense of belonging, while exploring the manner in which narratives of identity and culture empower individuals.

Panel 2 | Colonial Legacies and Retreat, and Communities Divided

Cession and Retreat: Negotiating Hong Kong’s Future, 1979-1984Rebekah Cockram

In the mid-nineteenth century, Britain acquired Hong Kong from the Qing dynasty in three parts via three separate legal agreements. Unlike the international agreements that ceded Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula to the British indefinitely, Britain’s possession of the New Territories had a fixed expiration date of July 1, 1997. As the expiration date of the New Territories Lease approached, British officials responded to investor fears about the future of Hong Kong and determined that they held strong legal and economic arguments to advocate for continued British administration after 1997. By 1984, however, Britain relinquished their sovereign claims to Hong Kong and retreated from the territory. This thesis underscores how Britain’s miscalculations concerning the strength of their legal and economic arguments as well as China’s tough negotiating constraints led Britain to change their policy and eventually cede sovereignty of territory otherwise guaranteed to them under international law. Moreover, it evaluates how China undermined Britain’s attempts to advocate for the Hong Kong people in a direct way and evaluates the relative success of the negotiated outcome for Britain.

Colonial Legacies of Global Medicine and Pharma – Danielle Dvir

We live in the era of biomedicalization: the product of a mode of knowledge that perceives biomedical phenomena in all aspects of society. Concurrently, the recent expansion of medical technology now allows for discipline of the body at the biological level through drugs and surgery. Such technologies are developed within a near-ironclad medico-ethical conceptual and theoretical apparatus, or discursive regime. How did the concept of “modern” medicine emerge in possession of a matter-of-fact assumption of objective truth? Why have medical technologies, institutions, and modes of thought extended into jurisdictions of society previously thought of as unrelated to health and wellness? These questions will guide an examination of contemporary global discourse where narratives of modernity and health intertwine – a dimension of the colonial encounter that is continually (re-)enacted in varied contexts across time. Using historical and theoretical methods, this paper describes modern medical ideologies, institutions, and industries as emerging out of the politics of colonization and empire that construct modernity.

Community Divided: Relationally Reconstructing the Lynching of Eugene Daniel – Morgan Vickers

The history of lynching in America is often defined by statistics, trends, and characterizations of the mobs involved in the murder of an accused individual. The memory of a lynching is often defined by purported criminality, angry mobs, and the death of the accused, rather than by the community that produced the lynching, the life lost during the murder, and the implications thereafter. In this thesis, I introduce the notion of personhood in lynching victims through the case study of a single victim: Eugene Daniel from New Hope Township, North Carolina, who was murdered in 1921. This thesis argues that one cannot separate people from the context in which they live; acts of racial violence, like lynchings, neither exist in a vacuum nor solely affect the murdered individual. Modern digital tools allow historians to gain a better understanding of the circumstances that perpetuated lynchings, the communities in which lynchings occurred, and the contemporary implications of historic acts of violence.

Alumni Discussants

Tosin Agbabiaka T’10 was raised in Lagos, Nigeria and Katy, Texas and 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. Through a Fulbright-Schuman research scholarship (2012 -’13), he subsequently conducted an analysis of the efficacy of EU and Greek mechanisms in addressing the asylum and undocumented migration crisis in Greece.

Tosin holds a JD-MBA from Yale Law School and Yale School of Management, where he co-taught the Doing Business in Africa course and was a leader of the Immigration Legal Services clinic, Africa Law and Policy Association, and Yale Black Law Students Association. He currently works as a venture capital investor at Octopus Ventures, helping European startups develop and scale their ideas in the U.S. and thinking deeply about the intersection of technology, urban planning, and government.

Menaka Nayar, Trinity ‘11 and Law ’14, is an associate at Linklaters LLP in New York, where she is a member of the Dispute Resolution practice. She has a broad range of experience in commercial litigation and government investigations work. She also has a significant pro bono practice focused on the rights of vulnerable populations such as refugees, immigrants and survivors of domestic violence. As a former member of the first-of-kind International Governance and Development Practices, her previous work for Linklaters LLP focused on advancing good governance across the private and public (development and humanitarian) sectors. Prior to joining Linklaters LLP, Menaka attended Duke University School of Law, graduating with a JD/LLM in International and Comparative Law; and Duke University, where she obtained a BA in Political Science. A classically trained dancer, Menaka was a member of Defining Movement (“defMo”) – a multicultural dance group – throughout her Duke career.

Oct 272017
 October 27, 2017

The Kenan Institute for Ethics and Duke’s Department of Art, Art History and Visual Studies will host a community-centered conversation on the questions of how we commemorate history in the public space, how we memorialize individuals, ideologies and communities, and how we respond to our past, when our perspective changes.

The program, “Object Lessons: Do Public Monuments Have a Future?” will take place at 7:00 pm on April 27, 2018 in Durham’s Chesterfield Building.

Our distinguished panel will be moderated by Durham-based journalist Lisa Sorg:

  • Fitzhugh Brundage — University of North Carolina, History
  • Erika Doss — University of Notre Dame, American Studies
  • Julian Maxwell Hayter  — University of Richmond, Leadership Studies
  • Pedro Lasch — Duke University, Art, Art History and Visual Studies

The program is open to the public and free of charge to attend. A reception will follow in the Chesterfield’s atrium.

The Chesterfield is located at 701 West Main Street, in Durham’s Brightleaf District. Free parking is available on-site.

Oct 232017
 October 23, 2017

An exhibition of student work that explores how we should live, the role that art plays in our lives, and its impact on how we see the world.

The theme for the 2017-2018 “What Is Good Art?” exhibition is “Community.”

This year’s chosen entries, selected by a distinguished panel of experts in art and/or ethics, will be on display as a collective exhibition in the Keohane Kenan Gallery of the West Duke Building.

Monday, April 23, 5:30-7:00 pm

Keohane Kenan Gallery, West Duke Building Hallway

What Is Good Art? is sponsored by Team Kenan, the student branch of the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Oct 202017
 October 20, 2017

Friday, April 20, 2018
8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Divinity School Room 0014W
Duke West Campus

See attached flyer for more details. The complete conference program can be found at https://sites.duke.edu/project_duke_baixada_project/cost-of-opportunity-educate-to-liberate/. The conference will be recorded and live streamed here.

Funded in part by a Kenan Institute for Ethics Campus Grant.

Oct 052017
 October 5, 2017

In The Twilight of Cutting: African Activism and Life after NGOs Saida Hodzic explores the role of Ghanaian feminist and reproductive health NGOs that have organized campaigns against female genital cutting over the last 30 years, a period that has seen a decrease in cutting across Africa, and an increase in discourses surrounding cutting in the West. In problematizing their campaigns, transnational and regional encounters and the forms of governmentality that they produce, the book offers a critical lens on the claims of human rights, and the limits of cultural relativism and feminist activism. In this conversation, we would like to explore the book’s implications for a) how US-based people do and do not, but should support human rights in the global South and b) what the book reveals about the unique challenges and opportunities for human rights activism when governed by a liberal vs. illiberal administration.

Join us for a conversation:

· Saida Hodžić, Anthropology (Cornell University)

· Anu Sharma, Associate Professor, Anthropology (Wesleyan University)

· Moderated by Catherine Mathers, International and Comparative Studies (Duke)

This event is part of the on-going discussion series Conversations in Human Rights, bringing together panelists from other institutions and Duke faculty to engage with their research on hot-button international human rights issues. The series draws together the social sciences, humanities, law, and policy.

It is co-sponsored by the Department of Cultural Anthropology, Duke Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, and the Duke Law School International Human Rights Clinic.

The event will be held on Thursday, April 5th, 4:30 – 6:00 pm, in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke, Room 101.

To RSVP for the event, email sk272@duke.edu by noon April 2nd.

Oct 042017
 October 4, 2017

In January 2018, thirteen members of The Kenan Institute for Ethics’s Global Citizenship and Ethics Living/Learning Community (LLC) spent six days in Puerto Rico. The purpose of the trip was to examine health justice and hurricane recovery. While they attempted to fully immerse themselves in the Puerto Rican experience, it became clear to them that their initial focus was far too narrow; stories of health access were intertwined with concerns about grid stability and U.S. law. Upon returning, LLC students decided to share the complex web they encountered with the Duke and Durham communities. This panel will address the wide-ranging impacts of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico, the many barriers to recovery, and the question of who carries the burden of rebuilding.


Joseph Blocher returned to his hometown of Durham to join the Duke Law faculty in 2009, and received the law school’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012. Before coming to Duke, he clerked for Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. His principal academic interests include federal and state constitutional law, the First and Second Amendments, capital punishment, and property. Along with fellow Duke Law professor Mitu Gulati, he is the author of the forthcoming article in the Yale Journal of International Law, Expulsion, Statehood, and the Future of Puerto Rico.

Richard Cuebas is Managing Principal of Integra Architecture PLLC, of Charlotte, North Carolina. He has been involved in the design and construction businesses in Puerto Rico since 1997 and North Carolina since 2015. Richard is a LEED Accredited Professional and member of the US Green Building Council and in 2010 served as a sustainability coach for the Puerto Rico Green Jobs Program, a government effort to train employees in sustainability practices. He is past-president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Puerto Rico Chapter. He also served in the Board of Directors of ACE Mentors in Puerto Rico. Richard obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Puerto Rico and a Masters degree in Architecture from Arizona State University. He is a licensed architect in Puerto Rico, Florida and the Carolinas.

Mitu Gulati is a professor of law at Duke University. His research interests are currently the historic evolution of concepts of sovereign immunity and the role that law can play as a symbol. He has authored articles in the Journal of Legal Studies, the Review of Finance, and Law and Social Inquiry. He has won no awards, other than a second place finish in the fancy dress competition in 3rd grade (photo not available). He is also the author, with his colleague Joseph Blocher, of a forthcoming article in the Yale Journal of International Law on the possibility of self-determination for the people of Puerto Rico.

Dr. Edgardo Ramon Parrilla Castellar is is a leading breast cancer diagnostician at Duke’s Department of Pathology and is Associate Medical Director of Duke’s Clinical Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory. His current research efforts focus on innovative, non-invasive approaches for the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer, with ultimate goal of distinguishing biologically aggressive tumors for targeted chemo-/immunotherapy. Dr. Parrilla Castellar received his MD from University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, and returned to his native Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria to lead First Medical Relief for Puerto Rico, an independent group of medical professionals.

Wed., April 4th, 7:00 pm

Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)

Free and open to the public. Free parking. Reception to follow.

This event is sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Global Citizenship and Ethics Living/Learning Community.

It is co-sponsored by Mi Gente, Duke University’s Latinx Student Association.