May 252018
 May 25, 2018  Tagged with: , ,

Kenan Institute for Ethics visiting professor Lisa Ann Richey has co-authored an op-ed piece, with Noelle Sullivan, published in the Huntington Post.

Entitled “There Are Better Ways To Fight Poverty Than Giving Money To Corporations,” the article describes how, in turning charity into consumption through campaigns such as Red Nose Day, “corporations and nonprofits distract from how the current unequal global economic system contributes to the very challenges these campaigns aim to address.” How well-meaning individuals are drawn to these campaigns offering “low-cost heroism” was also addressed by Richey in her talk at the April 12th panel discussion “Commodifying Compassion,” held at KIE.

Lisa Ann Richey is a Visiting Professor at the Kenan Institute for Ethics and Professor of International Development Studies and Director of the Doctoral School of Social Sciences and Business at Roskilde University in Denmark. She served as founding Vice-President of the Global South Caucus, and Advisory Board Member of the Global Health Section, of the International Studies Association (ISA).

May 162018
 May 16, 2018  Tagged with: ,

The Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics is again running the Pathways of Change program this summer. Students interested in the areas of business and human rights, women’s rights, and environmental justice are matched with internships with partner organizations working for social change across these fields, including Corporate Accountability, Feminist Majority Foundation, and NC Conservation Network. Together they explore the trade-offs between different approaches towards social change.

Sydney Speizman (’17) summarized the positive impact that her internship had on her: “The Pathways of Change program opened my eyes to the complex web of stakeholders and strategies involved in protecting human rights and the environment as the economy becomes increasingly globalized…[it] provided me with both deeper insight into how international development projects can better support the communities they aim to help, and valuable work experience that will undoubtedly shape my future career path.”

In addition to working for 8-10 weeks, Pathways of Change students conduct profiles of the people in their organizations and write “letters home” about the best ways to effect change in human rights practices.

Mar 272018
 March 27, 2018  Tagged with: ,

Ethical shoppers sipping an Ethos bottle of water support sanitation in Tanzania, buying a pair of TOMS shoes automatically donates a pair of shoes to “a child in need,” and mixing with Belvedere RED vodka contributes to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.  Today’s marketplace is inundated with products supporting humanitarian causes that promise to give aid to beneficiaries, provide “good feelings” to consumers and promote the brands of corporations and humanitarian NGOs. The commodification of humanitarianism (turning people and causes into marketable things) is linked to the privatization of help (replacing public donors with private philanthropy) with significant and as of yet poorly understood consequences. Commodifying Compassion will introduce research exploring how “helping” has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism symbolically and materially.

The Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics invites you to a panel discussion. Panelists include:

Lisa Ann Richey, Duke University and Roskilde University (Denmark), @BrandAid_World, “Implications of Commodifying Compassion on Business, Politics and Social Relations”

Alexandra Cosima Budabin, University of Dayton and Free University of Bolzano (Italy), @ABudabin,“Crafting Humanitarian Imaginaries: The Visual Story-Telling of Buy-One Give-One Marketing Campaigns”

Mie Vestergaard, Roskilde University (Denmark),“Private Business, Partnerships and Humanitarianism in Africa: ‘Win-Win – So Who Loses?’”

The panel will be moderated by

Catherine Mathers, International & Comparative Studies, Duke University

Follow Commodifying Compassion on Twitter  @CocoResearch


The event will be held on Thursday, April 12th from 4:30 – 6:00 pm in Room 101 (Ahmadieh Family Conference Room) West Duke

Please RSVP to by Monday, April 9 at noon.


Mar 272018
 March 27, 2018  Tagged with: ,

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 by noon April 2nd.

Feb 132018
 February 13, 2018  Tagged with: ,

The Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University is calling for submissions for its fourth annual Scholars Symposium in Scholars-SymposiumHuman Rights, Ethics, and International Politics. The symposium, which is sponsored by the Kenan Global Human Rights Scholars, is an opportunity for seniors at Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill to publicly present any honors or capstone project that broadly relates to the themes of human rights, ethics, or international politics. Projects can be written or artistic works. Students will present short summaries of their work in a conference-style setting. Distinguished faculty and alumni, as well as current students, will be invited to serve as discussants. This event is open to the public, and particularly for faculty, students and alumni of both Duke and UNC.

The symposium will take place on Saturday, April 14th in the West Duke Building, Duke University East Campus. 

Acceptance into the symposium is competitive. Applicants are asked to submit a 2-4 page extended abstract of their project. Please include the project’s 1) motivating research questions, 2) methods, 3) conclusion, and 4) overall significance to human rights, ethics, or international politics.

Proposals are due Sunday, March 25th to Suzanne Katzenstein.

Dec 022017
 December 2, 2017  Tagged with: ,

With the five-year anniversary of India’s mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) law on the horizon, The Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics is hosting a two-day workshop with the central goal of taking stock of the legislation.

Although the legislation has inspired much theoretical debate, actual evaluations to date have focused narrowly on individual companies, asking whether or not they are increasing their CSR allocations. This workshop aims to expand the analytical framework to assess the legislation, particularly its impact, focusing on both the philanthropy and corporate responsibility landscapes. It brings together academics and practitioners from India who are deeply involved in India’s CSR developments with U.S.-based CSR experts from outside of Duke. We plan to analyze the legislation from a conceptual, empirical and policy perspective.

More information and the workshop agenda will be posted closer to the date. If you have questions or would like to RSVP, please email Suzanne Katzenstein:

This workshop is made possible with the generous funding of the Duke India Initiative.

June 4-5, 2018
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke (Room 101)
East Campus, Duke University

Oct 202017
 October 20, 2017  Tagged with: , ,

The Cost of Opportunity: Educate to Liberate

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 The conference will be recorded and live streamed here.

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

Oct 132017
 October 13, 2017  Tagged with: ,


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.

May 042017
 May 4, 2017  Tagged with: ,

Kenan is now soliciting proposals for two new, year-long faculty fellow positions within the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Two-page proposals should detail a new research project the fellow plans to pursue over the coming year. Proposals should also provide a timeline of activity, expected year end outcomes and a budget.

Faculty fellows will receive $7,500 each. Funds can be used for research expenses, to support research assistants, or for summer salary or course buyout. Fellows must be in residence throughout the academic year, are expected to participate in DHRC@KIE events and, where appropriate, provide intellectual leadership for the Center. Work may be collaborative or independent.

Preference is for fellows whose research focuses on international institutions, business and human rights, women’s rights or forced migration.

Proposals can be sent to and are due at noon May 8. Awards will be announced by May 12.

Mar 222017
 March 22, 2017  Tagged with: ,

The latest batch of posts from the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ Global Human Rights Scholars Rights Writers is posted for the month of March. 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.