Aug 032016
 August 3, 2016  Tagged with: ,

PeterWehnerThumbCurious about the role of religion and politics in the 2016 presidential election cycle? Interested in becoming a government speechwriter or political commentator? Join a lunchtime conversation with political commentator and former speechwriter Pete Wehner.

Wehner is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center who has served in the last three Republican administrations. In 2001, he was named deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. He later served as director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, where he reached out to prominent thinkers and advised the White House on a range of domestic and international issues. A senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, he has been affiliated with several leading research organizations. He is a frequent commentator on television and radio and has written widely on political, cultural, religious and national security issues.

Do Lunch is a series of informal lunch discussions featuring ethical leaders outside of Duke and their decision-making processes.

Catered lunch available to students who RSVP; space is limited. Sign-up form coming soon.

Thursday, November 3
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room, West Duke 101

Jul 212016
 July 21, 2016  Tagged with: ,

symposiumA symposium exploring Arab and Middle Eastern communities in Latin America—whether Muslim (Sunni, Shia, Druze), Jewish, Christian, or secular—in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina. We chart flows of migration and immigration across time and space, driven by commerce and politics, bringing languages, dialects, religions, and ethnicities into contact and new combinations. We bring together anthropologists, historians, political scientists, literary theorists, art critics, poets, converts, and filmmakers. The symposium looks at the convergences and divergences between two seemingly remote regions and cultures, with attention to allegiances forged across the Global South. We particularly examine the articulation of a radical politics across different political, cultural, and historical contexts: liberation theologies, feminism, decolonization, Marxism, and socialism. We pay special attention to the expression of these ideologies through not just political movements, but also art, music, media, film, literature, and poetry.

Friday, October 21
Ahmadieh Family Conference Hall,
240 John Hope Franklin Center

Download the full schedule as a PDF.

SPONSORS: Humanities Futures at the Franklin Humanities Institute, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Duke Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Duke Center for International Studies, Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke Islamic Studies Center, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, The Global Brazil Lab

Jul 202016
 July 20, 2016  Tagged with:

Graduate students with an interest in religions-and-society-related issues are invited to attend the next meeting of the 2016-2017 Religions and Public Life Society of Scholars. Sam Bagg, Political Science, will be presenting his dissertation chapter, “Equal Agency and the Search for the Subject.” RSVP required via the Google form.

His dissertation provides a new way of thinking about the value of pluralistic liberal democracies. In this chapter, he sets the stage for that broader project by arguing 1) that an ideal of “equal agency” lies at the center of much contemporary political thought, and 2) that this ideal invites us to embark on a seductive yet ultimately chimerical quest to find out what individual subjects really want. This chapter thus motivates the alternative that he provides in the rest of his dissertation.

Non-member graduate students and postdocs are invited to this meeting as a chance to meet peers with similar research interests and learn about their work. For more information, contact David Steinbrenner.

Thursday, October 20
Rm 107F West Duke Bldg, East Campus

Jul 042016
 July 4, 2016

Join DIRA & YOUnite for a Watch Party for the Vice Presidential debate on October 4 at the Devil’s Krafthouse. Because both Tim Kaine and Mike Pence regularly cite their faith on the campaign trail as the foundation of their political and ethical views, Professor Mark Chaves (Sociology, Divinity School, & Religious Studies) will start the evening by discussing the role of religion in American politics. After the talk, we’ll settle in for a fun debate watch party in the heart of Duke’s new West Union — open to everyone and with free food for all! Students, faculty, families, and staff all welcome.

See the Facebook Event for more information.

Tuesday, October 4
Devil’s Krafthouse (West Union Building, West Campus)
Talk by Mark Chaves: 8:30PM
Debate: 9:00PM

Organizers: DIRA & YOUnite
Lead sponsor: The Religions & Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics
Co-sponsors: POLIS, Duke Political Science Department, American Grand Strategy, Alexander Hamilton Society, Duke College Republicans, Duke Democrats, Duke Political Union, Duke Political Review

Jun 282016
 June 28, 2016

The first seminar for the Religions & Public Life Society of Scholars is Wednesday, September 28. Eliza Dandridge will be presenting her paper, “Transimperial Imaginaries: Landscape Myths of the Far West and French Algeria.” RSVP required via the Google form.

The Society’s interdisciplinary working groups provide members and invited visitors with the opportunity to develop their research interests and discuss recent scholarship in a supportive, cordial atmosphere, open to all contributions. Fellows have included MA and Ph.D. graduate students, postdocs, and junior faculty, which brings a wide range of expertise to group discussion. Fellows have circulated and received valuable, interdisciplinary feedback on a variety of manuscripts, from prospecti, grant applications, and articles to conference papers and dissertation and book chapters.

Monthly meetings provide a rigorous, congenial forum for authors to work through written comments received on their work via a closed online platform or via email, and to ask questions of their own. For more information, contact David Steinbrenner.

Wednesday, September 28
Ahmadieh Family Conference Room
(West Duke 101)

Mar 272016
 March 27, 2016  Tagged with: ,

Storytellers - October 27 at 7pmCome watch Duke University students tell their own stories live for an evening exploring Secrets and Lies. KIE has partnered with  The Monti’s Jeff Polish to create an undergraduate workshop to take students from pitch to final performance.

The Monti is a non-profit organization that invites people to tell personal stories without the use of notes.  It’s simple storytelling. Each month, The Monti holds events around the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area and as far away as Greensboro. The goal is to create an intimate, open, and fun atmosphere where people can relate their personal experiences to one another through narrative.

Hosted by  the Kenan Institute for Ethics in partnership with The Monti. Cosponsored by Story Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute.

Thursday, October 27
, 7:00pm

Duke Coffee House, Crowell Building
10 Epworth Dorm Lane (East Campus)

Feb 222016
 February 22, 2016

The Kenan Institute for Ethics is once again partnering with Jeff Polish and The Monti to bring live storytelling to Duke’s campus.

Storytellers - Secrets and LiesWhen:
Workshop on Storytelling
September 22, 7:00pm-8:30pm, 101 West Duke, East Campus

Live performances
October 27, 7:00pm, Duke Coffee House, East Campus

Live and Unscripted Stories about “Secrets and Lies”

Duke Undergraduates, mentored by Jeff Polish and The Monti – Please, RSVP here!

The Monti is non-profit organization that invites people to tell personal stories without the use of notes.  The goal is to create an intimate, open, and fun atmosphere where people can relate their personal experiences to one another through narrative.  Last year students told stories about “Betrayal.” This year we are seeking stories about “Secrets and Lies.”

The Monti has been staging live storytelling events to sold-out crowds throughout the Triangle since 2008. For this event, Duke undergraduates have the chance to work with Jeff Polish to craft a personal story into a compelling piece to perform before a live audience.

We are now seeking storytellers for the October 27 event. For more information and to learn how to tell a good story, come to the workshop on September 22. Coming to the workshop does not commit you to tell a story, but by the end of the evening, you may want to! Everyone is welcome.  You can just show up, but an RSVP here to help us make sure to have enough food!

Hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics in partnership with The Monti. Cosponsored by Story Lab at the Franklin Humanities Institute.


Feb 012016
 February 1, 2016

BBQ-plateThe Kenan Institute for Ethics is hosting its annual party to kickoff the new academic year. Those planning to attend must RSVP to

Thursday, September 1, 2016
West Duke Lawn, East Campus

Dec 182015
 December 18, 2015

Urban povertyCities are centers of great economic dynamism. In the developing world, this has resulted in massive population shifts from rural to urban areas, and cities have become centers of huge inequalities in incomes, lifestyles, housing conditions and access to services. Glass-walled office towers stand side-by-side with squalid, tented slum settlements. Yet despite the rapid growth in the ranks of the urban poor, knowledge about their lifestyles, household investments, social mobility, political behavior, and the like – remains rudimentary. Bringing together a multidisciplinary group of scholars and development professionals, this conference aims to address the crucial challenges and opportunities facing poor households and neighborhoods in the developing world. Sponsored by: Duke Center for International Development (DCID), Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, RTI International

The workshop is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to event coordinator Marissa Rosen
For more information and times, visit:

Wednesday, May 18 – Friday, May 20, 2016
Rhodes Conference Room (Sanford School of Public Policy, Room 223)


Nov 182015
 November 18, 2015

hussain-ali-agrama-lecture-postersmallHussein Ali Agrama, Associate Professor of Anthropology & Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Chicago, will be giving a workshop on “Justice between Islamic Shari’a and Western Legal Tradition: Remarks on the Egyptian Context.”His pre-circulated paper by that same title, and an accompanying text, are available to download online. How does one compare and contrast potentially very different traditions of law without assuming any common conception of law? How does one stage a comparison of such traditions in the face of their mutual engagement under historical conditions of asymmetric power that render one of them commensurable to the other? These are some of the central questions this essay begins to address through a series of loosely related, ethnographically inspired reflections on the concept of justice within Western legal tradition and the Islamic Shari’a, with respect to modern Egypt. It focuses on the particular problem that the violence of law is seen to pose for the enactment of justice within Western legal thought and practice. Arguing that this problem is of relatively recent origin, it outlines some of the historically emergent forms of sociability, modes of authority, and structures of coercion that contribute to the formation of this problem, and that give rise to a distinctive conception of politics that persists into the present. Contrasting this with classical Shari’a thought and historical practices, the essay then points to how these forms of sociability, authority and coercion – and the concept of politics they made possible – insinuated themselves into the fabric of Egyptian society through the colonizing and modernizing projects that established European based civil law there; it also reflects on how this produced the complicated pattern of similarity, difference, commensurability and incommensurability that exists today between Egyptian civil law and Islamic Shari’a.

Co-sponsored by:The Graduate Program in Religion, the International Comparative Studies Program, the Religions & Public Life at the Kenan Institute of Ethics, and the Religious Studies Department

Monday, April 18
12:00-2:00 pm
Carpenter Conference Room (Rubenstein 249)