Dec 212017
 December 21, 2017

We  live an age of political polarization.

Those who disagree with us are often viewed as not just wrong but as deeply irrational and immoral. Is this a good thing? And what is the proper ethical response to it? What sort of habits of mind and practices should we cultivate in response to this increasing “partyism” and cultural self-segregation? In her concession speech, Hillary Clinton asked her supporters to keep an “open mind” with respect to the coming Trump presidency, but what exactly does that mean?

Professor Alan Jacobs of the Baylor Honors Program will address these and other questions in his public lecture, “Embrace the Pain: Living with the Repugnant Cultural Other,” on January 29th at 5pm in the Holst-Anderson Family Room.

View the talk here:

Or download an audio recording of the talk here.


Dec 212017
 December 21, 2017

We regret that Dr. Erhard Busek’s visit has been canceled. We will post another announcement if the visit is rescheduled at another time.

Religions and Public Life Visiting Scholar Dr. Erhard Busek will visit the Duke University campus Tuesday, January 16 through the morning of Friday, January 19th. During his visit, Dr. Busek will present a public talk and meet with faculty and graduate students.

His public seminar, on current issues around religion and migration in Europe, will be on Wednesday, January 17, in the Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101). The reception will begin at 4:30PM, followed by Dr. Busek’s seminar talk, “Religion and the Future of Europe,” and Q&A and discussion. For an abstract of the talk, please see below.

Dr. Erhard Busek has served as Vice-Chancellor of the Republic of Austria,  Minister for Science and Research, Minister for Education,  Special Representative of the Austrian Government for the Enlargement of the European Union, and Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe. Now, among other positions, he serves as  Chairman of the Institute for Danube Region and Central Europe in Vienna, Coordinator of the “Southeast European Cooperative Initiative,” President of the Vienna Economic Forum, and as Jean Monnet Professor ad personam.

Now, among other positions, he serves as  Chairman of the Institute for Danube Region and Central Europe in Vienna,  Coordinator of the “Southeast European Cooperative Initiative,” President of the Vienna Economic Forum and as Jean Monnet Professor ad personam.

For more information, please e-mail Deirdre White at

Reception & Seminar: Religion and the Future of Europe
Wednesday, January 17
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room (West Duke 101)


Perhaps more than any other continent or civilization, contemporary Europe is secular. The majority of citizens hold neither religious belief nor practice. Ominously, cultural memories of religious heritage come up most often as arguments pitting Europe’s historical “Christian” identity against Islam, reflecting fears that growing immigration and refugee waves may indelibly reshape European identity. These fears have given rise to populist nationalism, a transnational phenomenon in integrated Europe. The growth of empathy and compassion, the emotional foundation of European identity, has not kept up with economic integration and the growth of these fears. This is the challenge the European Union faces. Despite a quarter century of political integration, the EU also suffers from internal social tensions and suspicions, mutually reinforced by religious tensions, even among the countries that launched the drive toward European unity (not to mention among the Eastern European countries that joined later).

To respond to current European fears of Muslims, better popular knowledge of Islam is crucial, as religious ignorance is staggering. Meanwhile, savvy and ruthless politicians both within and outside Europe misrepresent Islam for rhetorical and political gain. Some are nostalgic about the Cold War world, where European ideological and territorial fault lines were obvious, and the first ideas of a unified Europe emerged. But there is no escaping the new Europe, which is multicultural, multiethnic and multi-confessional. Therefore, we must think about new foundations for European unity, which call on the shared heritage of all religions present in the continent.

Jul 252017
 July 25, 2017

Please join us for a free screening of Persepolis.

Persepolis is the poignant story of a young girl coming-of-age in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. It is through the eyes of precocious and outspoken nine-year-old Marjane that we see a people’s hopes dashed as fundamentalists take power — forcing the veil on women and imprisoning thousands. The film follows Marjane from Iran to Europe and back throughout her youth and to early adulthood. Co-winner of the Jury Prize at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. Rated PG-13.

Mehdi Emamian will join us for a Q&A following the film to discuss
his experience living in Iran during the early days of the Revolution.

Spring 2018 Ethics Film Series: You Say You Want a Revolution

Each spring, the Kenan Institute for Ethics sponsors a film series that provides popular and accessible vehicles for talking about ethics around a particular theme. Each series as a whole offers rich opportunities for debate and discussion on ethical issues for audiences from both the Duke and Durham communities. This year’s film series is co-sponsored by DukeArts.

This year’s Ethics Film Series investigates the ethical and moral discourse surrounding revolutions and those who instigate them. Focusing on political, technological, and artistic revolutions this film series explores how revolutions become institutions, affect human psychology, and create venerated revolutionaries. Why do some revolutions have staying power while others do not? How have our day to day lives been changed by the revolutions we have experienced? Can we criticize our revolutionaries? These are just some of the questions this year’s film series will explore. You say you want a revolution? Well, you know, you should come to our film series.

Film selections and dates for the Spring 2018 Ethics Film Series are detailed below. All films will be screened in The Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke 101 at 7pm (doors open at 6:30pm). Following every film, there will be a post-film discussion with faculty and special guests. The films are free and open to the public. Refreshments and light snacks are provided.

East Campus parking is available.

Spring 2018 Film Series Schedule:

January 25 – Persepolis

February 15 – The Social Network

March 22 – Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

April 19 – Selma