Dec 222016
 December 22, 2016

The Rethinking Regulation Program at KIE is hosting its Annual Symposium May 22. This year¹s conference is spearheaded by 2016-17 Lamb Regulatory Fellow Vishy Pingali, focusing on regulation and access to pharmaceuticals in the developing world. Discussion will center on the 2016 report of the UN Commission on Human Rights on Access to Medicines. Governments in developing economies often grapple with the absence of mature insurance markets, so patients often pay for medication out of pocket. Expensive, novel medicines are then out of reach for the majority of the population. Can these governments develop a regulatory regime that facilitates payment for these prescriptions?

Check back for full schedule of panels and speakers.

Monday, May 22
101 West Duke Building,
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room

Dec 082016
 December 8, 2016

GradFellowsSympOn Monday, December 12, join the Kenan Graduate Fellows for their year-end symposium, to be held in the Ahmadieh Conference Room between 2:30pm-6:30pm. This year’s theme is: Scholarship and Practice.

The 2:30-5:00pm session will focus on linkages between scholarship and work beyond the ivory tower. Current Graduate Fellows will present about some aspect of their scholarship, their work outside of the academy, and/or the connection between the two.

From 5:15-6:30pm, a roundtable discussion will feature the presenters along with Kenan Senior Fellow and Professor of Theological Ethics at the Duke Divinity School Luke Bretherton.

Nov 252016
 November 25, 2016

Kenan Institute for Ethics Senior Fellow Dr. Farr Curlin will be a featured speaker at the 2017 Nancy Weaver Emerson Lectureship, where he’ll be part of a debate titled “Physician Aid-in-Dying: Within or Outside the Boundaries of Good Medicine?”

The event, free and open to the public, will begin at 5:45 p.m. April 25 at the Nasher Museum of Art.

Curlin, who also serves as the the Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities, has co-authored more than 100 articles and book chapters dealing with the moral and spiritual dimensions of medical practice, including the recent essay “Why Physicians Should Oppose Assisted Suicide.” As a practicing palliative medicine physician, Curlin seeks to understand how to practice medicine ethically for patients who are dying.

In 2016 Colorado became the seventh state to provide a legal mechanism by which a physician may write a prescription for medications that a terminally ill patient may take to end the patient’s life. Efforts are underway in multiple other states to legalize this practice, described variously as “death with dignity,” “physician aidin-dying,” “physician-assisted death,” and “physician-assisted suicide.”

Joining Curlin is Dr. Timothy E. Quill, the Founding Director of the University of Rochester School of Medicine Palliative Care Program and the Acting Director of the school’s Paul M. Schyve Center for Bioethics. Quill has published and lectured widely about various aspects of the doctor-patient relationship, with  focus on end-of-life decision making, including exploring last resort options. He was the lead physician plaintiff in the New York State legal case challenging the law prohibiting physician-assisted death that was heard in 1997 by the U.S. Supreme Court (Quill v. Vacco).

As part of the 2017 Emerson Lecture, the two physicians, will debate whether physician aid-in-dying belongs as part of medical care. Quill will argue that it does, and Curlin will argue that it does not. After brief presentations, they will engage each other and members of the audience in a moderated discussion of this critical issue in contemporary healthcare.

For more information, see this flier.

Nov 242016
 November 24, 2016

Internationally proclaimed safe areas are often viewed as a relatively low-cost means of civilian protection in civil war situations involving the threat of mass atrocities, but are safe areas established over sizable territories, without the consent of the conflicting parties, problematic from a human rights perspective?

Join Stefano Recchia, University Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Cambridge, at 1:30 p.m. April 24 in Gross Hall 270 as he presents “The Trouble with Internationally Proclaimed Safe Areas” as part of the Security, Peace, and Conflict Workshop.

The event is cosponsored by the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke American Grand Strategy Program, Duke Asian Security Program and the Trinity College Signature Course Program.

Recchia has authored articles in Political Science QuarterlyReview of International Studies, and Security Studies. He is the author of “Reassuring the Reluctant Warriors:  U.S. Civil Military Relations and Multilateral Intervention” (Cornell 2015).

Nov 232016
 November 23, 2016

Robert G. Morrison, professor and chair of the religion department at Bowdoin College, will be giving a public talk as well as participating in the Muslim Diasporas Seminar of the Religions and Public Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke.

Prof. Morrison came to Bowdoin College since 2008.  He teaches courses in the academic study of both Islam and Judaism, but address, in addition, comparative topics. Prof. Morrison’s research has focused on the role of science in Islamic and Jewish texts, as well as in the history of Islamic science.  He has contributed the chapters on Islamic astronomy to the New Cambridge History of Islam and the Cambridge History of Science.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

This spring, the Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics in collaboration with FHI Humanities Futures and the Department of History, will host three scholars of Islamic and comparative studies. Each will give a public talk and participate in the Muslim Diasporas working group seminar during their visit.

Nov 182016
 November 18, 2016

ed balleisan-fraud book-coverThe Duke community is invited to join the Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics to celebrate the launch of Edward J. Balleisen’s new book: Fraud: An American History from Barnum to Madoff (Princeton University Press, 2017) from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 18 in the Thomas Reading Room at Lilly Library. Balleisen will discuss the book with Sam Buell, followed by Q&A with the audience, a book signing, and a reception.

Edward J. Balleisen is the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Associate Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. His research and writing explores the historical intersections among law, business, politics, and policy in the modern United States, with a growing focus on the origins, evolution, and impacts of the modern regulatory state. He has pursued a number of collaborative projects with historians and other social scientists who study regulatory governance in industrialized and industrializing societies. He has also started an oral history project that examines regulatory policy-making, which involves extensive collaboration with Duke undergraduate and graduate students. From 2010 through 2015, he directed the Rethinking Regulation Program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Samuel W. Buell is the Bernard M. Fishman Professor of Law at Duke University. His research and teaching focus on criminal law and on the regulatory state, particularly regulation of corporations and financial markets. He is the author of Capital Offenses:  Business Crime and Punishment in America’s Corporate Age (W.W. Norton & Co., 2016).  His recent scholarship explores the conceptual structure of white collar offenses, the problem of behaviors that evolve to avoid legal control, and the treatment of the corporation and the white collar offender in the criminal justice system. He is a member of the American Law Institute, has testified before the United States Senate and the United States Sentencing Commission on matters involving the definition and punishment of corporate crimes, and has delivered recent invited lectures in Australia, China, and Taiwan.

Event details:

  • 5:30 to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 18
  • Thomas Reading Room, Lilly Library (2nd Floor)
  • East Campus

Parking on East Campus is free and open to the public beginning at 5 p.m. on weekdays.

Nov 172016
 November 17, 2016

For its April 17 Monday Seminar Series, Kenan Institute for Ethics welcomes Anne Drapkin Lyerly, Professor of Social Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Bioethics at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Department of Social Medicine. She is also Research Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Lyerly will present “Ethics, Pregnancy and the Race for a Zika Vaccine.” She is currently co-principle investigator on a Wellcome Trust funded project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women research on Zika and other public health emergencies.  Additionally, she is principle investigator on the NIH-funded PHASES Project to advance equitable inclusion of pregnant women in HIV research, and, along with Ruth Faden and Maggie Little, she co-founded the Second Wave Initiative, a project aimed at addressing women’s health needs during pregnancy through responsible inclusion of pregnant women (and their interests) in biomedical research.

Over her career Lyerly has addressed a range of topics in reproductive medicine, including stem cell research and frozen embryo disposition, miscarriage, maternal-fetal surgery, and vaginal birth after cesarean. She has recently completed a book, A Good Birth, reporting the findings of the Good Birth Project, aimed at describing what constitutes a “good birth” from the perspectives of birthing women themselves.

After earning a bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth College, she received master’s degrees at Duke and Georgetown University.

Lyerly will present from noon to 1:30 p.m. April 17 in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke Building Room 101. Lunch will be provided and those interested in attending must RSVP by emailing Bashar Alobaidi at

The Monday Seminar Series, hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics, fosters a interdisciplinary group of faculty and graduate students from across the University to discuss cutting edge research in ethics broadly conceived. For more information and upcoming speakers, visit the series website.

Nov 082016
 November 8, 2016


The Duke Human Rights Center at The Kenan Institute for Ethics will be holding its third annual Scholars Research Symposium on Saturday, April 8. 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 8
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)

Introduction and Welcome – Daniela Flamini

Panel 1 | 1 to 2:15 p.m. | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place

  • Chair: Liz White
  • Panelists: Diana Dai, Jessica Van Meier, Olivia Johnson
  • Discussants: Jessica So and Rym Khadraoui

Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan  – Diana Dai
Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir
Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route  – Olivia Johnson

Panel 2 | 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies 

  • Chair: Celia Garrett
  • Panelists: Kendra Schultz, Samantha Night, Kate Townsend
  • Discussants: Menaka Nayar and Sarah Sibley

Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter – Kendra Schultz
Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night
The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend

Selected Presenters

  • Diana Dai, International Comparative Studies and Public Policy, Duke, May 2017
  • Olivia Johnson, International Comparative Studies and Political Science, Duke, May 2017
  • Samantha Night, Public Policy, UNC, December 2016
  • Kendra Schultz, Public Policy, Duke, May 2017
  • Kate Townsend, Public Policy and Women’s and Gender Studies, UNC Chapel Hill, December 2017.
  • Jessica Van Meir, Public Policy, Duke, May 2017

Global Scholars

  • Sanjeev Dasgupta, Political Science, Duke 2017
  • Daniela Flamini, International and Comparative Studies and English, Duke 2019
  • Celia Garret, Public Policy, Duke 2019
  • Rym Khadhraoui, Duke Law School, 2017
  • Sarah Sibley, Political Science, Computer Science and Statistics, Duke 2019
  • Liz White, Public Policy and French, Duke 2017

Alumni Discussants

  • Menaka Nayar, Trinity ’11 and Law ’14
  • Jessica So, Trinity ’10
Panel 1 | Migrant Workers, Sex Workers and Refugees: Work, Space and Place

Living on the Outside: Unraveling the Paradoxes Surrounding Migrant Domestic Work in Jordan – Diana Dai

This research project will examine the institutional and ideological factors that influence the experiences of migrant domestic workers in Jordan. For a decade now, human rights groups have been invested in the increase in and subsequent exploitation of migrant domestic workers. My project will critically analyze how the institutions and discourses that make up global capitalism have made possible these incidences of violence that many believe are unrelated to ideological and/or structural factors. Using a range of methods from Marxist feminism, structural analysis, and ethnography, and focusing intimately on the context of transnational domestic work, my thesis argues that the “abuse of human rights” could be best understand as an integral and necessary reality of late global capitalism. Furthermore, structural actors (the state, the household, the supranational organization), along with migrant domestics themselves, are all embroiled in the circulation of (oppressive) discourses surrounding gender, race, and nationality which make possible the specific forms of labor exploitation we see today.

Sex Work and the Politics of Space: Case Studies of Sex Workers in Argentina and Ecuador – Jessica Van Meir

While many studies examine how different legal approaches to prostitution affect sex workers’ living and working conditions, few studies analyze how sex workers’ physical workspaces and the policies regulating these spaces influence sex work conditions. Based on interviews with 109 current or former sex workers, 13 civil society representatives, 12 government officials, and 5 other actors in Ecuador and Argentina, this study describes sex workers’ uses of urban space in the two countries and compares how they experience and respond to government regulation of locations of prostitution. Argentina and Ecuador took different approaches to regulating sex work space, which appear to reflect different political ideologies towards prostitution. Sex workers expressed different individual preferences for spaces, and government limitation of these spaces represented one of their major concerns. The results illuminate how sex workers’ workspaces influence their working conditions and suggest that governments should consider sex worker preferences in establishing policies that affect their workspaces.

Examining Mobility and Stasis Along the Balkan Route  – Olivia Johnson

How do state border policies impact refugees’ mobility and wellbeing while travelling through the Western Balkans to Germany? How do these governmental policies and organizational responses to the ‘refugee crisis’ affect the individual agency of refugees travelling this route? In summer 2016 my research partner and I traveled along the Balkan route conducting semi-structured interviews with local organizations (n=24) and refugees (n=16) to explore the consequences of stasis within mobility. We heard about the personal impacts of closed borders, marginalization and deportations. While I imagined countries like Hungary were acting independently from overarching legislation like the Dublin Accords (III), I realized instead it was these very policies that permitted Hungary’s extreme admittance procedures and detention facilities. Although asylum policy is rooted in humanitarian ideals, I argue that EU asylum policies reinforce systems of incarceration through heightened surveillance, detention, and physical barriers to accessing asylum. The EU’s multi-state “shared” asylum policy exacerbates this situation through increased categorization and shifting border policies.

Panel 2 | Strategies for Promoting Rights in the U.S.: Social Movements and State Policies 

Social Media as a Tool for Social Mobilization: A Case Study of Black Lives Matter, Kendra Schultz

Presently, many social movements occur by way of social media. The integration of social media into social movements is changing the methods by which movement organizations mobilize and communicate. This project seeks to understand how social movement organizations are using social media platforms to mobilize, and how social media strategies contribute to engagement with a social movement. Using a singular in-depth case study, this paper explores Black Lives Matter’s social media output on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr. This study provides insight into the output of Black Lives Matter, as well as the greater landscape of social movements through a breakdown of the effects on the Political Process Model (PPM). Ultimately, Black Lives Matter uses social media to initiate discourse and disseminate information rather than mobilize. Furthermore, a deeper analysis of the social media activity shows ambiguous implications for the Political Process Model. These findings can further guide our understanding of the future of social movements.

Measuring the Right to Food: A U.S. Policy Perspective – Samantha Night

The right to food is recognized by international law as a fundamental human right of all people. Three conditions must be met for the right to food to be realized; food must be available, accessible, and adequate. While food policy research in the United States has focused on specific elements of these conditions, the right to food has not been measured in a substantive and comprehensive way. This paper discusses the normative implications of the right to food in the United States and proposes a framework for operationalizing and measuring it domestically. Incorporating right to food principles into the development of U.S. food policy, particularly at the state and local levels, may address both structural and direct determinants of food insecurity and the prevalence of overweight and obesity. This paper takes the first step in a substantive right to food assessment of U.S. food policy by introducing an evaluation framework for use in future policy research and analysis.

The U Visa, Domestic Violence, and Law Enforcement Reporting – Kate Townsend

The U Visa allows undocumented survivors of certain violent crimes, one of which is domestic violence, a pathway to legal residence, and even citizenship, with certification that the survivor has cooperated with law enforcement. This research seeks to determine the degree to which the U Visa has had an impact on Latina survivors’ decision to report their domestic violence victimization to law enforcement, and for whom the effect was most relevant. I used difference-in-differences models to find that, with the establishment of the U Visa in 2000, there was only a statistically significant increase when controlling for the relationship with the abuser. With the implementation in 2007, there was actually a statistically significant decrease in the likelihood that a Latina survivor would report victimization from domestic violence to law enforcement.

Alumni Discussants

Menaka Nayar, Trinity11 and Law ’14, is an associate 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. 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. A classically trained dancer, Menaka was a member of Defining Movement – a multicultural dance group – throughout her Duke career.

Jessica So, Trinity ’10, is a human rights lawyer who has been living and working in Myanmar since 2014. At Yale Law School, she participated in the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, co-authoring a report with Human Rights Watch on anti-corruption efforts in Uganda, representing individuals incarcerated in administrative segregation, and carrying out research on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women’s protections for gender-based violence. Upon graduation in 2014, she was awarded a Robina Human Rights fellowship to do legal research with UNDP Myanmar. In her second year with UNDP, Jessica carried out a research study across three states in Myanmar that sought to better understand the ways people seek access to justice, including through informal pathways outside the formal legal system. Her research focused particularly on women’s experiences and the unique challenges they face in accessing justice. Jessica recently finished a short consultancy with the International Senior Lawyers Project and will begin several new projects, also based in Myanmar.

Jessica graduated from Duke with an A.B. in Political Science and a Certificate in the Study of Ethics. She also studied abroad in South Africa and China, traveled to Brazil to make a documentary film with Students of the World, and participated in Kenan’s first Alternative Spring Break trip to Molokai. After graduation, Jessica volunteered with an NGO that worked with refugees and asylum-seekers in Bangkok, Thailand.


Nov 072016
 November 7, 2016

How can Republicans and Democrats find more common ground in an increasingly polarized country?

From 12 to 3 p.m. April 7, John Hood, president of the right-leaning John Pope Foundation, and Leslie Winner, former executive with the left-leaning Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, will present on the changing political discourse and how citizens can work to bridge that divide. The event is sponsored by the Kenan Institute for Ethics along with The Center for Politics, Leadership, Innovation and Service and Sanford Policy Bridge.

The event is free and open to the public and will be held in the East Duke Building Pink Parlor. Refreshments will be provided.

Leslie Winner, a Democrat and former NC state senator, was the former executive director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and past recipient of the Governor’s Order of Long Leaf Pine award for outstanding service. John Hood, a Republican and founder of the John Locke Foundation, is president of the John William Pope Foundation and serves as a weekly panelist on the political talk show “NC SPIN.”

The two co-chair the North Carolina Leadership Forum (NCLF), which brings together NC civic, business, and political leaders from across the political spectrum to engage in thoughtful dialogue and attempt to find common ground on political issues.

Nov 062016
 November 6, 2016

This conference will provide a platform for field leaders from science and the humanities to discuss how to forward the empirical and philosophical investigation of the emotion disgust. In bringing together scholars from evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, and multiple areas of psychology, it will be possible to identify contributions each field can make to the others vis-à-vis the study of the basic nature of disgust, as well as the effects of disgust on psychiatric, public health, sociomoral, and political phenomena. Registration is free.

This event is hosted by the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and co-sponsored by the Kenan Institue for Ethics.

To register and for information, click here.

Thursday and Friday, April 6-7, 2017
Love Auditorium, Levine Science Research Center