Feb 272017
 February 27, 2017

The latest batch of posts from the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Global Human Rights Scholars Rights Writers is posted for the month of February. The monthly series of articles written by Duke students focuses on six different human rights topics, each chosen by the author.

This month, the Rights Writers posts include:

For more information about the Rights Writers, visit the program website. Bios of the authors and details about the Global Human Rights Scholars Program can be found here.

Feb 172017
 February 17, 2017

The Kenan Institute for Ethics has welcomed Duke graduate student Colleen Pesci as the latest artist to be featured in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery, located on the first floor of the West Duke Building on East Campus.

Pesci’s exhibit, titled “Dear Companion,” takes an intimate look at grief and loss. The series features diptychs of letters from surviving twins addressed to their twin who has passed, paired with an object that acts as a representation of the memory of their twin.

One letter features a single feather alongside a handwritten note addressed from one twin, Susan, to her late brother, Michael.

To select objects to match letters, Pesci interpreted correspondences, then built and photographed each item to represent the path of a memory shared. The letters address the pain of each surviving twin by offering a window into the complexity of grief and healing.

“A month after my twin Michael was suddenly gone,” the display explains, “this beautiful bird came tapping at my window for several minutes and returned multiple times over the next month. Its message clear to me – ‘I am at Peace. Love Never Dies.”

Dear Companion will be on-display through March 6. It’s open to the public during normal business hours on weekdays.

Feb 142017
 February 14, 2017

What is Good Art? 2017The Kenan Institute for Ethics has extended the deadline for this year’s “What Is Good Art?” exhibition to allow students additional time to enter projects that explore how we should live, the role that art plays in our lives and its impact on how we see the world.

To allow for additional entries, Kenan has extended the submission deadline until 11:59 p.m. Feb. 21.

This year’s theme is “What Were You Thinking?” and is is open to all current Duke students. Selected artwork will  be displayed in the Keohane-Kenan gallery in the West Duke Building. Crash prizes are also available.

What Is Good Art? is sponsored by Team Kenan, the student branch of the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Submission guidelines, information about the prizes, and more can be found on the exhibition website.

Feb 102017
 February 10, 2017

Kenan Institute for Ethics Senior Fellow Andrea Renda is featured in a Bloomberg article exploring President Trump’s “New Math on Old Regulations.”

Renda, who also serves as Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies, wrote a study on cost-benefit analysis for the European Commission in 2013. In his assessment of President Trump’s Executive Order to require Congress to phase out two federal regulations for every new one, Renda noted that “it’s impossible to affix a dollar amount to any total estimate of regulatory impact.”

Probably, it’s on the hidden part of the envelope,” he says. “It’s farther than the back of the envelope.”

Will there be an easy way for the Trump Administration to evaluate the benefits of decreased regulation? Read the Bloomberg article for more information.

Feb 092017
 February 9, 2017

From covering the death of a Chicago teen to the importance of ethical policing, Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Practitioner-in-Residence Jamie Kalven covered an array of topics related to government accountability during a public lecture as part of Kenan’s “Cover-ups and Exposés” series Feb. 8.

Kalven, who won a 2015 George Polk Award for Local Reporting after breaking the story of Laquan McDonald’s death, spent time on campus meeting with students and faculty discussing issues of accountability, abuse, impunity and institutional denial. During his talk, Kalven examined the cultural and moral implications of each topic through the lens of his reporting. What he found in recent years, he said, are questionable behaviors ingrained “in the DNA” of the institutions created to help Americans, from aspects of racism to shielding those in power.

“The process of building more credible and transparent systems has only partially advanced,” he said. “The challenge now is to figure out how to heal. To do it without lying about the realities. To do it without receding from intermittent clarity about underlying systemic conditions.”

Kalven saw this difficulty first-hand in his uncovering of McDonald’s death. In October 2014, Chicago Police Department officer Jason Van Dyke shot the teen 16 times, but it wasn’t until Kalven successfully issued a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain McDonald’s autopsy report that the narrative created by the department became clear. In the following months, Kalven learned how officers worked to lead witness reports and craft a story implying that McDonald was responsible for his own death. Through his reporting, Kalven found the opposite occurred, and before Van Dyke shot McDonald, the teen was acting calmly with first responders.

“What becomes apparent at this point is what the investigators are doing as their essential function, as they understand it, is actually not to figure out what happened, it’s to figure out how to justify what happened,” Kalven said. “That orientation is so strong it raises the possibility that the gravitational field of institutional imperatives is so powerful that they don’t actually see the wrongdoing. What they’re contending with is a problem to be solved in the interests of the institution.”

In the aftermath of uncovering the truth behind McDonald’s death, city leadership created the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired and thousands of pages of government emails were released, showing a concerted effort among officials and administrators to create a unified narrative of the incident.

Kalven warned that kind of behavior isn’t out of the norm and in order to create a more connected and informed society, it will be important for all people – from citizens to those in power – to expand their knowledge, understanding and empathy of the world around them.

“The challenge is to break into people’s moral imaginations,” he said, “to elicit their fellow feeling, to somehow subvert the stories they already know so there’s some space for perception.”

Kalven’s lecture was co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars & Publics and Department of Political Science.

Feb 082017
 February 8, 2017

how-to-ask-revA team of researchers from the Kenan Institute for Ethics was recently awarded funding as part of a project called “Towards a Culture of Questioning,” an effort to consider how asking the right kind of questions can make political discussion more productive.

Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, the Chauncey Stillman Professor in Practical Ethics in the Department of Philosophy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and director of Kenan’s Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making Program, is acting as principal investigator for a team that includes:

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Jesse Summers (co-principle investigator)
  • Postdoctoral researcher Jordan Carpenter
  • Aaron Ancell, a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy and a former Kenan Graduate Fellow

Grant funding comes from the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. “A Healthier Q&A” is one of 10 projects receiving funding to explore the landscape of American discourse and create strategies to spur and sustain open-minded, reasonable and well-informed debate and dialogue.

Duke’s team will work to determine which questions, and which contexts, produce humility and civility in public discourse, and which produce polarization and inflexibility. The goal is to find ways to promote a culture of democratically engaged inquiry. Ultimately, the research team hopes to train others to ask questions that lead to mutual appreciation and productive dialogue.

The project is also one of the 2017-2018 Bass Connections teams and will include undergraduate and graduate Duke students.

Feb 062017
 February 6, 2017

CoverUpsA collection of faculty from the Kenan Institute for Ethics were recently awarded an Intellectual Community Planning Grant to additionally fund Kenan’s “Cover-ups & Exposés” series, which seeks better understanding on mass institutional cover-ups and what happens when they’re exposed.

The awards, presented by Duke Provost Sally Kornbluth and Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies Ed Balleisen, provide $3,500 to $5,000 to support faculty pursuing the development of a new or existing collaboration. Cover-ups & Exposés is led by Kenan’s Suzanne Katzenstein and Ruth Grant. Along with Duke faculty, additional collaboration comes from UNC-Chapel Hill faculty.

As part of the Cover-ups series, Kenan is hosting investigative journalist Jamie Kalven Feb. 6 to 8, including a public lecture on police abuse and accountability at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 8. Details are available here.

For more information about the grant and a full list of groups receiving funding, visit the Interdisciplinary Studies website.

Feb 032017
 February 3, 2017

sarah-kerman-colorizedIn a new post on the Bass Connections website, junior Sarah Kerman reflects on her time working with a group that investigated efforts of government agencies to evaluate impacts of regulatory programs. The 2015-2016 project, titled “Reviewing Retrospective Regulatory Review,” included Kenan faculty leads Jonathan Wiener and Lori Bennear, co-directors of the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Rethinking Regulation program.

In her post, Kerman noted the value of attending Kenan’s 2016 Rethinking Regulation Symposium, where she presented initial findings from the group as part of the Regulatory Cooperation and Administrative Oversight Panel:

“Participating in the panel, responding to questions about our project and hearing about the work of other researchers focusing on regulatory issues revealed lots of possible venues for further research and really helped me get a better sense of how our team’s project could fit into the field of existing research on ex-post regulatory review.”

The Silver Family Kenan Institute Ethics Fund provided additional support for the project.

For more insight and to learn about Kerman’s work, visit the Bass Connections website.

Jan 272017
 January 27, 2017

Alternative Spring Break 2017 - Cuba

How has 70 years of fractious and fractured relations defined the evolution of Cuba and the United States, what consequences will come from healing those rifts and how might recent changes in the leadership of both countries affect reconnection and its impact on the lives of ordinary Cubans?

A group of Duke University undergraduate students will be selected to participate in the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ alternative spring break 2017 to Havana, Cuba. The group will travel to Cuba for 5 or 6 days during the week of March 13th for an immersion into the opportunities and challenges posed by the resumption of normal relations between the United States and Cuba after nearly 70 years of tension and distrust. All costs will be covered by the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Participants will explore the the social, economic, geophysical/environmental consequences of reconnection between Cuba and the United States, from multiple viewpoints, including the attitudinal contrasts between those who are old enough to remember the Batista government and those who have come of age only knowing post-Revolution Cuba and perhaps comparing those divisions to those found in the Cuban exile communities in the U.S. Students will examine the complexities of Cuba’s bifurcated economy, which segregates tourist income from the local marketplace, the social effects of ending ‘Wet foot/Dry foot,’ the de facto ecological protections codified by the restoration of the U.S.-Cuba relations and how Castro’s revolution had profound, if unexpected consequences for gender roles and empowerment.

Prior to the trip, the group will meet several times with guest speakers and to discuss readings. During the trip students will have evening reflections and will keep a journal documenting their questions, concerns, and experiences. These journals will form the basis of an exhibit upon return to Duke.

To apply:

Please submit your application via this form by 5 PM on February 15th 2017. Interviews will take place during the week of February 20th, 2017.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Will I need a passport?
    • A valid passport, with at least two blank pages will be required for entry and exit. Your passport must be valid for at least 60 days after departure from Cuba in the case of some nations (EU countries, including the U.K., as well as the U.S.) and 6 months for others.
  • Will I need a visa?
    • In order for U.S. travelers to Cuba to board the flight, we will purchase tourist visas, through the airline, for $85. Citizens of Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, and Serbia can visit visa-free for up to 90 days. Citizens of Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines can visit visa-free for up to 60 days. Citizens of Antigua and Barbuda, Belarus, Mongolia, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Singapore, Armenia and Saint Lucia can visit visa-free for up to 30 days. Citizens of Barbados and Dominica can visit visa-free for up to 28 days.
  • What else is required for travel?
  • I’m not a U.S. citizen or I hold dual citizenship, how will my experience differ?
    • If you hold dual citizenship with Cuba, or are a child of Cuban emigres, in the past it has been strongly recommended not to travel to Cuba, as you may be subject to Cuban laws. If you hold Cuban citizenship, you must travel on a Cuban passport.
  • I don’t speak Spanish. Can I still apply?
    • Spanish competency is not a requirement for consideration but will make the trip much easier.
  • Where will we stay?
    • In addition to a small number of government-run luxury hotels in the major cities, Cuba operates a system of Casas Particulares, private homes which are open to tourists, provide the same amenities as a bed and breakfast and are regulated by the government. In the past, staying in a Casa Particulare was strongly recommended for U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba on educational trips and is the preferred accommodation of our on-the ground partner organization.
  • What costs will I be responsible for?
    • All travel, group meal and accommodation costs will be covered by the Kenan Institute for Ethics. Participants will be responsible for personal purchases (which may be subject to export/import restrictions).
  • Will my credit card work in Cuba?
    • As of December 2016, U.S. credit and debit cards are not being accepted. ATMs are relatively rare in Cuba. Cash is often the only method of payment.
    • There are two currencies circulating in Cuba, Cuban Pesos (CUP) and Cuban Convertible Pesos (CUC).
    • CUC (pronounced kook) is the currency most tourists will use in Cuba. It is how you will pay for hotels, official taxis, entry into museums, meals at restaurants, cigars, rum, etc. Since March 2011, the CUC has been set at par to the USD for exchange calculation. Conversion into CUC can be done at exchange houses (casa de cambio, or cadeca). These are located in many hotels and in other places throughout the cities. CUC are valued at 25 times the value of CUP. Tourists are permitted to import or export a maxiumum of CUP 100 or CUC 200 at any one time. Locals pronounce the currency CUC/CUCs as “kook” or “kooks”
    • CUP are also known as local pesos and are referred to in Spanish as “Moneda Nacional” (National currency). 1 CUC buys 24 CUP and 25 CUP buys 1 CUC. There is a limited range of goods that can be bought for local pesos, and these are transactions carried out in agricultural markets or from street vendors. Because the products that can be purchased with CUP are limited, it is a good idea to change only about CUC 5-10 into CUP at a time.The USD is no longer a proxy currency in Cuba, and now incurs a 10% exchange penalty that other foreign currencies are exempt from. Therefore, if you are holding USD, it may be cheaper to convert to another currency (CAD/EUR/GBP), so long as you don’t lose more than 10% in the conversion. Ironically, if converting from CUC to other currencies, USD is one of the few currencies that are available to convert to. There is no penalty when converting to USD. As of July 2016, the only available currencies to convert from CUC at the airport were USD and the Euro. The smallest sized denominations available were $5 USD and 5 Euros.
  • What technology should I bring/what kind of access to technology should I expect?
    • Do not bring a laptop and do not expect to have much time to access technology.
    • Some American cellular carriers now offer international roaming in Cuba. Ask your carrier whether they offer it.
    • Other possible ways to make calls when in Cuba include: purchasing a Cuban SIM card and minutes, purchasing or renting a Cuban phone with minutes, using landline phones and purchasing international calling cards.
    • Older Cuban buildings will have North American 2-pin 110-volt outlets. More modern buildings will have 220-volt outlets that accept both American and European pins. NOTE: 220-volt outlets require adapters for American appliances. To cover all of your bases, you should consider bringing an adapter.
  • What is it like to visit Cuba as a woman?
    • While it is always advisable to be vigilant, Cuba is generally a very safe country for women. Catcalling is common, but rarely acted on and easily put to rest.
  • What is it like to visit Cuba as a LGBTQ+ person?
    • Cuba has become increasing more accepting towards LGBTQ+ identities. In terms of public displays of affection, it is fairly common to see men hug or women holding hands. Same-sex intercourse is legal in Cuba and the government provides free gender reassignment surgeries to its people. However, due to protest laws, there is not much LGBTQ+ activism on large, public scales. We encourage you to check out Duke GEO’s resources for LGBTQ+ travel.
Jan 272017
 January 27, 2017

FA_Ancell_AaronAaron Ancell, Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy, coauthored a paper that was published this month in Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.

The paper, “How to Allow Conscientious Objections in Medicine While Protecting Patient Rights,” challenges those who propose an outright ban on conscientious objections in medicine, arguing that many conscientious objections must be permitted simply because they fall within the range of freedom doctors have to define the scope of their own practices. The latter half of the paper proposes a framework for permitting certain conscientious objections while mitigating the unjust burdens that such objections often impose on patients.

Read more on the Interdisciplinary Studies website.