Apr 102018
 April 10, 2018

Led by Norman Wirzba and Jedediah Purdy, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation, and housed at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Facing the Anthropocene is a project that considers humanity’s place in the world and what it means for social, political, and institutional change. The anthropocene marks the unprecedented moment when humanity becomes a dominant force in planetary history, responsible for widespread alterations of the world’s land, ocean, and atmospheric ecosystems.

For the 2018 summer term, we offered three Summer Graduate Research Grants, open to Duke doctoral students. Recipients will each write on how the anthropocene influences their research, and will give a presentation in the fall on how investigations of anthropocene themes have affected their work and future research plans. Grant recipients each receive a stipend of $6000.

We also offered two summer fellowships to Duke graduate students in collaboration with the Duke Campus Farm. The Farm Fellows will work alongside other farm interns, faculty, and staff, engaging in archival and field research on the history of land use and habitation on the Farm. They will focus on the history of the Farm and the surrounding area as sites of native land use and enslaved labor. Farm Fellows each receive a stipend of $5000.

2018 Anthropocene Graduate Research Grant Winners
Jieun Cho, PhD student, Cultural Anthropology
Ryan Juskus, PhD candidate, Graduate Program in Religion
Sally Bornbusch, PhD candidate, Evolutionary Anthropology

2018 Anthropocene Farm Fellows
Brett Stonecipher, Master of Theological Studies, Divinity School
Chelsea Clifford, PhD candidate, NSOE Environmental Science & Policy

Apr 042018
 April 4, 2018

Last week, the student-led Honor Council organized a series of events to mark Integrity Week and its own 25th anniversary. A March 30th talk by former United States Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Sarah Bloom Raskin was the culminating event. Raskin is a KIE Rubenstein Fellow working closely with the Rethinking Regulation program.

The Integrity Week events were part of a year-long series of ethics-themed programs focusing on ethical issues in higher education, business, and in the community. Read more.



Apr 032018
 April 3, 2018
“Duke has given me opportunities to see the world and study oppression occurring at home and abroad…We need to take the time, after problematizing everything, to build things back up.”  — Catherine Ward, Duke ’18


“If we were both settled in our views, why spend the time engaging at all? …I pieced together why I found such meaning in these discussions. Usually, they weren’t centered on what, but how… Morality, which we both took so seriously, was somewhat of a bridge between our two very different world views.”  — Keegan Barnes, UNC ’19

The 2018 Kenan Moral Purpose Award Winners have been chosen. Learn more about the winners and read their essays.

Mar 292018
 March 29, 2018

Religions and Public Life at KIE encourages Duke graduate and undergraduate students to apply to our annual international summer school looking at issues in religion and public life. This year’s program will be held in Leipzig, Germany, July 23-29:

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: these religions rely on normative religious traditions, sometimes called ‘Holy Scriptures’. Today, late-modern or post-modern societies often ask if these normative texts are still meaningful and relevant.

Sponsored by the International Network on Interreligious Research and Education (INIRE), the Leipzig Summer School 2018 brings together researchers and scholars with different religious and professional backgrounds: scholars from Israel, the USA, and Germany, researchers in History, Bible, Quran, Theology, and Sociology of Religion.

The questions asked will include: What roles do “Torah”, “Bible”, and “Quran” play in the three monotheistic religions in the past and present? How are the old texts interpreted today? And how are they used in religious and political discussions? Are ‘holy texts’ relevant for ‘secular people’? And what role do ‘holy texts’ play in the dialogue of religions and discourse in our societies?

Students are asked to send serena.elliott@duke.edu a one-page essay detailing their interest in the program and how it fits into their current course of study. Airfare, lodging, and meals are all included for students selected for the program.

Summer School travel funding is provided by the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University. The Summer School is co-sponsored by Religions and Public Life at KIE and Leipzig University, with support from other members of INIRE.

Mar 222018
 March 22, 2018

Arete High School Ethics Summer Seminar

July 9-14, 2018 |  Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

The “Arete Summer Seminar in Ethics, Philosophy, and Religion at The Kenan Institute for Ethics” at Duke University aims to prepare high school students with a “tool kit” for approaching these subjects in college, offering them a roadmap of sorts. Plato and Aristotle will be the primary interlocutors along with a number of other great minds. The seminar will examine the meaning of virtue, the substance of human nature, the question of human flourishing, the metaphysics of reality, and the nature of “truth.”

Learn more about the summer seminar and how to apply.


Mar 212018
 March 21, 2018

Their majors include Global Health, Computer Science, Public Policy, and Evolutionary Anthropology. Their summer studies will focus on issues in Ethiopia, Pakistan, and around the United States. Meet these six undergraduates who are asking thoughtful variations on the question, “What does it mean to lead an ethical life?


Feb 262018
 February 26, 2018

The 2018 Kenan Distinguished Lecture, “Making Straight What Has Been Crooked: The Ethics and Politics of Race in America,” held on March 2, was a conversation with Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu and Adriane Lentz-Smith, Associate Professor of History at Duke University. Introduction provided by Durham City Council Member Mark-Anthony Middleton.

This past May, a statue of Robert E. Lee that towered over New Orleans since 1884 was taken down along with three other monuments of prominent Confederates. Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans, gave an impassioned address that explained the decision to relocate these monuments. More than that, the speech challenged the whole city to tell a better history, one that more honestly assessed the past as it makes it easier to “do the right thing” today.

As summer set on Durham, a Confederate monument was toppled, Twitter erupted with disputed claims of an impending Klan march, and a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from Duke University’s Chapel. The city of Durham and Duke University have begun their own reckoning that looks backward and forward.  A joint City-County Committee on Confederate Monuments and Memorials will begin its work in the late spring. At the same time there is a clear recognition with Durham city government that the legacy of slavery is not only to be found in statuary, but also and more immediately in ongoing racial discrimination.

How do we tell our history for today’s Durham? What is ethical history? Whose voices are heard? What role does politics play?


Feb 212018
 February 21, 2018

moral purpose
The call for submissions to the 2018 Kenan Moral Purpose Award essay competition is now open, with a deadline of midnight on Monday, March 19. The Kenan Moral Purpose Award is given for the best undergraduate student essay on the role a liberal arts education plays in students’ exploration of the personal and social purposes by which to orient their future and the intellectual, emotional, and moral commitments that make for a full life.

More information and submission instructions here: http://kenan.ethics.duke.edu/students/kenan-moral-purpose-award/

Feb 162018
 February 16, 2018

Yarders lead image

In Yarders: The Underground World of Backyard Wrestling, 2018 Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow Rachel Jessen (MFAEDA 2018) investigates the underground world of backyard wrestling through a visual means. Spending the past year photographing federations in South Carolina and Georgia, she has come to see backyard wrestling—often referred to as “yarding”—as more than a fringe hobby wherein participants pretend to fight. Yarders explores themes of performativity, masculinity, ritualization, and class, subverting widely held assumptions and stereotypes of the activity and those who engage in it.

Yarders is on exhibit in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery, located on the first floor of the West Duke Building on Duke’s East Campus, from February 1-April 19, 2018.

On February 23, Jessen will host Cheap-Shots and Kayfabe: A Conversation on Ethics and Performative Violence with MIT Professor of Theater Arts Claire Conceison and KIE’s Mike and Ruth Mackowski Professor of Ethics Wayne Norman, at 5:30pm in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke Building Room 101), followed by the exhibit reception at 6:30pm. Both events are open to the public and free of charge.

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