Sep 262017
 September 26, 2017
Join Durham Mayor Steve Schewel to talk about how Duke and Durham are intertwined and the role of students as members of the larger Durham community. Have lunch with him to get a different and involved perspective!

In 1983, Steve Schewel founded the Durham-based Independent newspaper. The weekly paper has won some of the most prestigious awards in American journalism, including the George Polk Award for environmental reporting, the Investigative Reporters and Editors national award, the H.L. Mencken Writing Award, and the Thurgood Marshall Award. Schewel published the paper for 30 years before selling it in 2012.

From 2004-2008, Schewel served on the Durham Public Schools’ Board of Education, including two years as vice-chair. He was elected to the Durham City Council in 2011 with special interest in affordable housing, public safety and parks and trails. A former English teacher and community organizer, Schewel serves on a number of boards in the local community. He coached youth soccer in Durham for 18 years.

Steve Schewel graduated magna cum laude from Duke in 1973. He earned a master’s in English from Columbia University in 1974 and a Ph.D. in education from Duke in 1982.

Do Lunch is a series of informal lunch discussions, exclusively for currently enrolled Duke undergraduate students, featuring ethical leaders outside of Duke and their decision-making processes.

Lunches are available to students who RSVP; space is limited. Sign-up here.

WHAT: DoLunch with Steve Schewel
WHEN: Monday, March 26, from 12pm to 1:30pm
WHERE: Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke 101, East Campus
RSVP: Click here to RSVP.

Sep 222017
 September 22, 2017

Please join us for a free screening of Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

How do we define revolutionary artwork? To what degree is our perception of ‘great art’ a social construct? How does our veneration of revolutionary figures shape those people during their lifetime? These are just some of the questions that we will tackle during our screening of Tamra Davis’s award-winning biopic, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child. This film uses actual footage of the artist during his lifetime, combined with interviews from his close friends and colleagues, to explore the true artistic genius that was the late Jean-Michel Basquiat. Film Not Rated.

Ayanna Legros will be speaking following the film.

Ayanna Legros is a PhD student in the Department of History at Duke University. Her work focuses on Haitian, Afro-Latinx and Caribbean history, media, activism and migration. As Co-Founder of the BASQUIAT: STILL FLY @ 55 Project she has organized events in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, WBAI Radio State of the Arts, and Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. In 2016, she supported the placement of a plaque on 57 Great Jones Street, one of Basquiat’s downtown art studios.


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

Sep 072017
 September 7, 2017

How long could you go without your phone?

The Kenan Institute for Ethics is co-sponsoring a performance art piece at the Nasher Museum for Art held by Wendy Hower and Myra Weise. For 4 days, they will be forgoing the ability to check their phones, read, or speak to others in the gallery.

They are looking for volunteers that can sign up for shifts of 6-10 hours during the day on Wednesday, March 7 to Saturday, March 10.  Attendance is free to all Duke employees and students.

If you would like to participate, email Hannah Bondurant.

And read more on DukeToday.



Sep 072017
 September 7, 2017

This roundtable will discuss the perverse incentives of ‘impact’ in academia; the ethics of authorship, board membership and publication; and practicing freedom of speech in our contemporary political climate. We will draw from the example of a recent publication by the journal Third World Quarterly of a ‘Viewpoint’ in September 2017 arguing for the merits of colonialism. This piece follows in the footsteps of several Western intellectuals who have tried to reopen debates over the balance sheet of colonialism’s impact. In the context of Trumpism and vocal white supremacy in the US and increasing xenophobia in Europe and parts of Africa, this now deeply controversial essay led to considerable outcry, including nearly half of the Editorial Board of the journal resigning in protest.

This debate about the so-called benefits of colonization comes at a time when universities in Africa and around the world are calling for the decolonization of the curriculum in their institutions. Moreover, the resonance between a paper arguing for colonialism and questions about journal mismanagement and lack of peer-review is ironic given the documented challenges that scholars based in developing country universities face in getting published in high ranking, western-based journals throughout the social sciences and humanities.

This panel will take up the issues of why an argument in support of colonialism could be profitable at this time and what the commodification of scholarship means for decolonizing the academy. The panel includes representatives of the Third World Quarterly Editorial Board, journalism, and scholars and social media activists.

For a brief overview of the case, see here.



Ilan Kapoor, Professor of Critical Development Studies at York University, TWQ Editorial Board Member and development studies scholar specializing in postcolonial perspectives, queering development studies and psychoanalysis.

Lisa Ann Richey, Professor of International Developmetn Studies at Roskilde University, Denmark and Visiting Professor at Kenan Institute for Ethics, TWQ Editorial Board Member and development studies scholar specializing in new actors and alliances in aid, celebrity humanitarianism, and African causes.

Walter Mignolo, William H. Wannamaker Professor of Romance Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences, Duke

Yolande Bouka,  Postdoctoral Fellow, Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

And moderated by Jessica Namakkal, Assistant Professor of the Practice in International Comparative Studies, Duke


Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke 101

5:00 – 6:30pm

Please RSVP to Suzanne Katzenstein at by March 5th at noon. 

Sep 032017
 September 3, 2017

Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics will host on March 5, 2018 a talk with Udi Greenberg, Associate Professor of History at Dartmouth College. His talk will explore the recent scholarly critique of religious freedom. Over the last decade or so, there has been a surge in left-leaning critique of religious liberty (essentially claiming it is a highly problematic and often oppressive concept). Much of this work has drawn on provocative Christian theologians, who have articulated similar ideas. His work looks at the process of this intellectual convergence, its values and limits, and what their implications for contemporary political theory could be.

Monday, March 5
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room,
West Duke Building, room 101

Udi Greenberg is an historian of Modern European thought, especially Europe’s engagement with the wider world.  His studies and teachings have concentrated on modern European history, political institution building, and religious thought. His first book, The Weimar Century: German Émigrés and the Ideological Foundations of the Cold War (Princeton University Press, 2014), uncovers the intellectual, political, and institutional forces that shaped Germany’s reconstruction after World War II and the broader ideological genesis of the Cold War. By tracing the careers of influential German émigrés of diverse theoretical and political backgrounds, it claims that political ideas from Weimar Germany (1918-1933) were fundamental in molding the postwar order in Europe and the construction of American global hegemony. It was awarded the Council of European Studies’ 2016 Book Prize (for best first book in European studies published in 2014-2015). Greenberg is currently working on a second book-length project, tentatively titled From “Enemies of the Cross” to “Brethren in Faith”: Global Politics and the End of Europe’s Protestant-Catholic War, 1885-1965.

For more information, please contact Amber Diaz Pearson at

Sep 022017
 September 2, 2017

Join us for the 2018 Kenan Distinguished Lecture, Making Straight What Has Been Crooked: The Ethics and Politics of Race in America, 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.  But 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?

Mitch Landrieu was sworn in as the 61st Mayor of New Orleans on May 3, 2010, with a clear mandate to turn the city around following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill. On February 1, 2014, Mayor Landrieu was overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term and is continuing to deliver major victories. Prior to serving as Mayor, Landrieu served as Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana for six years and as a State legislator for 16 years where he earned a reputation as a reformer. Throughout his years of public service, Mitch has governed by the philosophy that New Orleans is “one team, one fight, one voice, and one city.”

Friday, March 2 at 7:00pm
Durham Armory, 220 Foster St, Durham, NC

Bus transportation provided from 6pm at the West Campus Bus Stop

RSVP on Facebook

Sep 012017
 September 1, 2017

The Duke Islamic Studies Center, along with the Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, will host its keynote event on March 1st, as part of the “American Muslims, Civil and Human Rights” series, which examines the current human rights crisis for Muslims in the U.S.

Alaa Murabit is a medical doctor, one of 17 Global Sustainable Development Goal Advocates appointed by the UN Secretary General, and a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment & Economic Growth. Her efficacy in security, health policy and sustainable development was most recently recognized by Forbes, Aspen Ideas and Bay Street Bull who named her a 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30, Aspen Institute Spotlight Scholar, and Canada’s 30×30 respectively. Her leadership in global policy and in elevating the role of women, particularly young, minority women, on global platforms was recognized by Harvard Law who named her the youngest 2017 Woman Inspiring Change.

This event is open to the public.

Where: Perkins 217

When: 5:00-6:30


Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies
The International Human Rights Clinic at Duke Law School
International Comparative Studies
POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service
Duke Global Health Institute