Apr 112014
 April 11, 2014

Lamb-FellowsThe Rethinking Regulation program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics will be hosting two new fellows in the 2014-2015 academic year. The fellowship is offered in collaboration with Duke’s Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and the Fuqua School of Business. In addition to pursuing their own research, Lamb Fellows will be expecting to participate in Rethinking Regulation seminars and workshops, and to help shape a significant collaborative research project along with other members of the Rethinking Regulation community. As part of that collaboration, Fellows will undertake some teaching responsibilities in Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and/or Fuqua School of Business – most likely c0-teaching an advanced research seminar focused on the subject matter of the collaborative research project, though other arrangements are possible.

Congratulations to the two candidates chosen to be the first George C. Lamb Regulator Fellows:

  • Jennifer Miller, PhD, is a bioethicist and current fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, where her work focuses on the bioethics of the bio-pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Miller will be in Durham for the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters. 
  • Umut Aydin, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile, where she specializes in competition policy. Professor Aydin will be joining us in Spring 2015.


Apr 102014
 April 10, 2014

2014WIGAEach year, Team Kenan organizes an annual undergraduate art competition and juried exhibition, “What Is Good Art?” This year’s theme encouraged artists to take a closer look at the everyday and the exceptional–and everywhere in between, to explore what is extraordinary. The judging panel consisted of Duke faculty and Kenan Institute administrators, as well as the Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow.

The winning entries are:

First Prize: Taylor Lu, Bees in a Hive
Second Prize: Michael Tauschinger-Dempsey, Fleeting Moments
Third Prize: Zhen Zhang, Letting Go
Gallery Choice: Pei Choong: Superhuman

The exhibition will remain on display in the first floor of the Allen Building (West Campus) throughout the remainder of the semester.

Apr 102014
 April 10, 2014


The student speaker at this year’s commencement ceremony will be Jennifer Sherman, the first female student to give the commencement address since 2000. Jenny is majoring in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Theater Studies. She is the co-director of KIE’s MASTERY program for resettled refugee youth in Durham, and has spent the last year engaging with field research with the Bass Connections team for Displacement, Resettlement, and Global Mental Health. Congratulations, Jenny!

Apr 092014
 April 9, 2014

Moral Purpose

Established in honor of the Institute’s 15th anniversary at Duke and subsequently expanded, the award represents a partnership with the Parr Center for Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One winner from each school receives $1,000. This contest is open to all currently enrolled undergraduate students at both Duke and UNC.

Essays of between 500-800 words should address either or both of the following questions:

  • In what ways have your core beliefs and larger aims been tested, transformed, or confirmed during your time in college?
  • How have you had to defend or challenge prevailing ideas, social norms or institutions and what lessons have you learned from doing so?

The 2014 deadline is April 13. To submit an essay or for more information, please email Michaela Dwyer.

To view previous winning essays, visit the Moral Purpose Award page.

Mar 212014
 March 21, 2014

alex-kirshnerKIE Senior Fellow Alex Kirshner (political science) has recently published A Theory of Militant Democracy: The Ethics of Combatting Political Extremism, which considers how pro-democratic forces can safeguard representative government from anti-democratic groups. By granting rights of participation to groups that do not share democratic values, democracies may endanger the very rights they have granted; but denying these rights may also undermine democratic values. New and unstable regimes often confront this difficulty and those regimes frequently end up banning significant political parties and restricting participation.

The book looks at a number of real-world examples, ranging from the far-right British Nationalist Party to Turkey’s Islamist Welfare Party to America’s Democratic Party during Reconstruction. The book also considers the relationship of militant democracy to theories of democracy, free speech, judicial review, just war, and partisanship, among others topics. Kirshner’s publication is available at Amazon and Yale.

Mar 142014
 March 14, 2014

re1598809_helfer_stilliman_retouchedKIE Senior Fellow Laurence Helfer will teach a massively open online course (MOOC) on “International Human Rights Law: Prospects and Challenges.” beginning March 31. The MOOC, the first law course offered through Duke University’s two-year-old partnership with Coursera, will address topics including genocide and humanitarian intervention, the right to life and capital punishment, the right to health and HIV-AIDS, and counterterrorism and human rights.

Helfer, the Harry R. Chadwick, Sr. Professor of Law, is an expert in the areas of international law and institutions, international adjudication, human rights, and international intellectual property law and policy. He is co-director of Duke Law School’s Center for International and Comparative Law.

As with other MOOCs, Helfer’s Coursera offering is open to anyone. He believes this universal accessibility could be particularly meaningful in the dissemination of information about human rights.

“Human rights are universal,” Helfer said. “They belong to every individual in every country in the world. They can be a tremendous source of empowerment and a tool for advocacy for legal, political, and social change. At the same time, human rights are often violated, sometimes on a widespread scale.

Helfer said his course could be useful to a variety of potential audiences, including human rights advocates, undergraduates interested in law school, and practicing attorneys interested in learning more about international law.

For more information, see the Duke Law website.


Mar 012014
 March 1, 2014

WIGA2014Promo-400Team Kenan invites submissions for the fifth annual What Is Good Art? Competition. This year’s theme is “Extraordinary.” Submissions that examine or present perspectives on the mundane, the unusual, or the way we think about those categories are encouraged. Have a different take on the theme? Our goal is to have many different meditations on what “extraordinary” might mean.

A distinguished panel of judges, composed of experts in ethics and/or art, will award first, second, and third prizes as well as select which submissions are shown in the What Is Good Art? Exhibition. The exhibition will begin with a reception on the evening of April 8th, 2014 in the first floor gallery of the West Duke Building.

The student awarded First Prize will receive an award of $500. See full competition rules below.

Competition rules. Click to expand.

  • The competition is open to all currently enrolled Duke students.
  • All submissions must be e-mailed to KenanGoodArt@gmail.com by 11:59 pm on March 19th, 2014.
  • All submissions must be original artwork created by the artist(s) indicated on the submission form.
  • Each individual artist may submit up to two (2) pieces for consideration.
  • Groups may submit single works, provided none of none of their members exceed two submissions.
  • Artwork may be in any two or three-dimensional format, including the following:
    • Painting (oil, acrylic, watercolor)
    • Drawing (pastel, pencil, charcoal)
    • Textiles
    • Photography
    • Mixed media
  • Artists should include a 1-3 paragraph explanation of the work as part the submission form. The judging panel will use this statement when evaluating the piece. If the piece is selected, the statement will be mounted alongside the work.
  • A panel of Duke affiliated faculty will judge submissions based on effectiveness in fusing interesting ethical ideas and artistic expression.
  • Works chosen as finalists must be available for display by April 1st, 2013. For photographs, artists may either provide printed enlargements for mounting, or the Kenan Institute for Ethics will arrange for enlargements to be made. Photographic enlargements paid for by the Kenan Institute for Ethics will be the property of the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Please contact Christian Ferney for details.
  • A selection of the top submissions will be unveiled at a gallery opening event to be held in the West Duke Building on East Campus beginning on April 8th, 2014. The pieces will be displayed until May 11th, 2014.
  • The judges’ top three selections will be announced at the event, and an additional prize will be decided by popular vote of those in attendance.
  • Students must make arrangements to claim their work by May 11th, 2014. Please contact Christian Ferney for details.

How to Submit:

  1. Complete the submission form, including statement to accompany the artwork and uploading at least one digital photograph (no less than 300dpi) of the artwork.
  2. Finalists will be further notified with additional instructions.

The panel-designated winners will be unveiled at the Gallery opening event, to be held in April 8th, 2014. The First Prize entry will receive $500; $300 and $100 will be awarded for Second Prize and Third Prize, respectively.

One additional “People’s Choice” prize will be awarded, to be based upon the votes of event attendees and will also receive a $100 prize.

Distinguished Panel of Judges:
Antonio Bogaert, Visiting Assistant Professor of Visual Art
William Fick, Visiting Assistant Professor of the Practice of Visual Arts
Caitlin Margaret Kelly, Graduate Arts Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Wayne Norman, Mike and Ruth Mackowski Professor of Ethics in the Kenan Institute for Ethics
Noah Pickus, Nannerl O. Keohane Director, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Sarah Schroth, Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director, Nasher Museum of Art
Suzanne Shanahan, Associate Director, Kenan Institute for Ethics

Click here for the 2014 What Is Good Art? Competition submission form.

Feb 262014
 February 26, 2014

Nepal-1KIE’s DukeImmerse program, the first of its kind, is now in its third year of sending undergraduates for a month of field work on the issue of displacement. Throughout the semester, a group of selected applicants take the same four courses on forced global migration through the lens of different disciplines, as well as explore the ethics of field research. This year, six of the students have traveled to Nepal for the last time to visit the Bhutanese refugee camps there. Viewed as one of the most successful sites in the world, there are few refugees who still await resettlement. The other six students have traveled to a new location, Jordan, to visit with Syrian refugees encamped there. Once they return, the students will compile refugee interviews into reports and recite monologues derived from the refugees’ life stories. Last year’s reports and videos of the recitations may be viewed on our 2013 DukeImmerse web resource.

Throughout the next few weeks, read the students’ take on their experiences on the 2014 DukeImmerse Research Journal.

Feb 242014
 February 24, 2014

4-PhotosCongressman David Price, Harvard Business School professor David Moss, and former North Carolina Commissioner of Banks Joseph Smith took part last Friday in a panel discussion:  “Preventing Regulatory Capture” as part of the program in Rethinking Regulation at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke.

Regulatory “capture” (a form of political corruption that occurs when a regulatory agency advances special concerns of interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating rather than what is in the public’s interest) has recently been in the news with the coal ash spill by a Duke Energy facility into a North Carolina river as well as the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner and effects on net neutrality.

The panel responded to Preventing Regulatory Capture: Special Interest Influence and How to Limit It, a recent volume of essays co-edited by Moss, who is also the founder of The Tobin Project. Moss pointed out that while capture exists and special interests do sometimes shape policy, it tends to be overstated by media and analysts, further saying that people tend to claim capture with policies that they oppose.

Representative Price discussed his experiences as a public policy professor teaching ethics at Duke and in his thirteen terms in Congress, describing an “iron triangle” of collusion that can form among congressional committees, regulatory agencies, and industry. He said that while public and industry interests are not always mutually exclusive, policymakers have an imperative to identify what does benefit the public and act accordingly.

Smith discussed the importance of independence for supervisory agencies – independence from both special interests and political parties. In his current role as a litigator, he observed that regulatory problems that aren’t addressed properly through policy channels end up seeking resolution through lawsuits.

The panel concluded that while capture does exist, it often happens in more subtle ways than the media portrays. Scholars and analysts are encouraged to seek out instances of capture but to be rigorous in investigations so that good policy isn’t affected by false perceptions.

The panel discussion was one in a series of discussions sponsored by the Rethinking Regulation program at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, which often unite policymakers with an interdisciplinary group of Duke faculty from many departments, other signature institutes at Duke, and the professional schools.