Aug 182017
 
 August 18, 2017

Along with many of his peers, Senior Fellow Luke Bretherton is a signatory on a statement to “unequivocally denounce racist speech and actions against people of any race, religion, or national origin.”

Posted to the website Daily Theology, the document entitled A Statement from Christian Ethicists Without Borders on White Supremacy and Racism has been signed by over 490 Christian theologians and ethicists.

Jun 222017
 
 June 22, 2017  Tagged with: ,

Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, in collaboration with the Duke University Center for Jewish Studies, invites applications for graduate scholars for the academic year 2017-2018. The call is open to graduate and professional students, as well as postdocs, at Duke University wishing to take part in interdisciplinary student-led seminars, focusing on Religions and Public Life, with a special thematic focus on Minorities and Diasporas.

Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics explores the role of religions in historical and cultural context as they influence the lives of their adherents, interact with each other across time and geography, and contribute to the formation of institutions that make up the public sphere. A joint endeavor with Trinity College of Arts & Sciences and Duke Divinity School, it is an interdisciplinary platform that puts scholars, students, and practitioners in conversation with one another through collaborative research, innovative teaching, and community engagement.

The graduate scholars will have the opportunity to develop their research interests and discuss recent scholarship. Members take active part in the events of Religions and Public Life and commit to attending monthly meetings throughout the academic year. Graduate scholars also commit to writing a think-piece or blog post relating their research to contemporary issues, to be published on the Religions and Public Life website at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Graduate scholars will receive funding of up to $1,500 in reimbursements for research expenses.

To apply, please submit the materials listed below to Dr. Amber Pearson (amber.diaz@duke.edu) by July 14, 2017, with subject line: “Religions & Public Life graduate scholars.” Awards will be announced in mid-July. An application should include:

  • A curriculum vita.
  • A one-page abstract for a research project, describing how it connects to Religions and Public Life and the Minorities and Diasporas theme. Please include the topic, objectives of your project, and relevance to the discipline or field of study as well as your academic trajectory. Additionally, please include how your project may contribute to the scholarly community.
  • A research budget. Scholars may be asked to share their research and findings by participating in colloquia or panel discussions during the year of their fellowship or the following year.
Jun 202017
 
 June 20, 2017

The Kenan Institute for Ethics has opened a new library space as a resource for the Duke community.

Found in 102 West Duke Building, the library features more than 900 works of fiction and non-fiction, including published selections from all faculty affiliated with Kenan, selections from staff Ethics Books Clubs from across campus, as well as other scholars and writers. The library is named in honor of Robert and Sara Pickus, the parents of Noah Pickus, who served as Kenan’s director from 2007 to 2017.

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to come by the Institute and visit the library. Beginning in the fall semester, books can be checked out by Duke community members. A searchable list of books can be found on the library’s webpage.

Along with books written by faculty, the library also includes a collection of books published as the capstone project for Kenan’s Ethics Certificate Program. The most recent release, “Gross! Ethical Issues Surrounding Disgust,” included chapters written by nine students and co-edited by Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and recent graduate Sophie Katz. Previous Ethics Certificate publications explored drugs and addiction, crime and punishment, war and terrorism, and moral and political disagreement.

Have an ethics-focused non-fiction or fiction book you’d like to recommend for the library? Email kie@duke.edu.

 

 

Jun 052017
 
 June 5, 2017

As part of a series of commentaries on the book, “Friends and Other Strangers: Studies in Religion, Ethics, and Culture,” Senior Fellow Luke Bretherton was selected to write a response to a chapter on issues related to religion and public policy.

Posted to the University of Chicago’s Religion & Culture forum, Bretherton provides analysis of a portion of the latest book by Richard B. Miller, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School. Bretherton’s primary teaching interests include theological ethics, Christian political thought, and practices of social, political and economic witness.

In his post, Bretherton discusses themes of civic empathy, including the idea of whether people should consider religious literacy as part of civic engagement.

“Liberalism is just as much a comprehensive doctrine as Communism or Christianity, yet, in Miller’s account, it is assumed to be neutral and the kind of anthropology it presupposes (namely, the self-reflexive, autonomous subject) and values it requires conformity to (namely, equality, autonomy, and reciprocity) are never subject to critique and so never problematized or interrogated,” he writes.

Read Bretherton’s full response: A Political Ethic of Alterity: Liberalism or Agonistic Democratic Politics?

 

May 292017
 
 May 29, 2017  Tagged with: ,

Undergraduate and graduate students invited to apply. Rolling application deadline during Spring 2017.

The Religions and Pubic Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, in collaboration with the Duke Center for Jewish Studies, is pleased to announce a summer short course, July 12-17, on religious exchange and historical collaboration among the three Abrahamic Religions at Bar-Ilan University, Israel. A competitive fellowship to attend is available, funded by the Center for Jewish Studies.

Download the syllabus and find application instructions here.

For any questions, contact Amber Díaz Pearson.

Apr 182017
 
 April 18, 2017  Tagged with:

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and African and African American Studies, Joseph Winters, was recently interviewed for Princeton Alumni Weekly. Winters

In it, Winters discusses his recent book, Hope Draped in Black:

The American way of thinking can be quite optimistic. We tend to embrace the idea that the future will always be better, and hope is seen as the opposite of the melancholic and the tragic. But it seems to me that the melancholic can actually make us aware of the suffering that has been — and continues to be — part of our world. It ensures that we don’t forget. So our hope for a better world really becomes dependent on the idea that we can continue to acknowledge suffering and violence and tragedy, in our past and in our present.

Read the interview here.

Apr 172017
 
 April 17, 2017  Tagged with:

Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, recently co-wrote an article for ABC Religion and Ethics, “A Sanctuary Politics: Being the Church in the Time of Trump

In these fear inducing times, Christians can find sanctuary in the body of Christ as the politics through which God gives God’s people everything they need to be faithful. Christians can lean into the church as the impetus for political action, and the church as itself political action, by way of an account of history that inscribes the church as sanctuary for the oppressed wherever and however they are oppressed.

Read the article here.

Mar 282017
 
 March 28, 2017  Tagged with: ,

Imam Abdullah Antepli , left, shares a laugh with Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks during the pair’s public talk, “Civility & Difference.”

In front of a crowd filled with Duke and Durham community members of a variety of faiths, two religious leaders urged about 200 people March 27 to see humanity as the overriding feature that can unite people across beliefs, cultures and geographical boundaries.

In a discussion co-sponsored by Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks and Imam Abdullah Antepli spoke about their personal journeys through religion, and how engaging in inter-religious dialogue has made them better people and deepened their appreciation for all religion.

“The true, beating heart of monotheism isn’t ‘one god, one truth, one way,’ but the unity in heaven creates diversity down here on Earth,” said Sacks, a British philosopher, scholar and former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth. “It is in our particularity that is born our universality.”

The talk, moderated by Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at the Duke Divinity School, highlighted the experiences of Sacks and Antepli as a way to show the value of civility among differences. Throughout their conversation, both men stressed how interacting with people outside their religions has shaped their life in positive ways.

“When I became an Imam, understanding Judaism and Christianity and Hinduism and Buddhism became an essential part of my intellectual and theological work,” said Antepli, Duke’s Chief Representative of Muslim Affairs and a Senior Fellow for the Duke Office of Civic Engagement. “It also became an essential response for problem solving.”

For example, Antepli said, he may spend just as much time – if not more – with people of other faith systems as he does the Muslim community. Doing so creates a deeper connection to his own religion at the same time he came to learn and appreciate others, he said.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, left, speaks to the audience while answering a question from Professor Ellen Davis, right.

Love, Sacks echoed, is what can be found at the heart of religion and allows inter-faith relationships to develop. He spoke of Mitzvah Day, an annual event for faith-based social action started in 2005, where members of England’s Jewish community volunteered time to offer acts of kindness to people outside their religion. By 2010, British Hindu organizations got involved, which also led to Muslims and Christians joining. Within a decade, each religious community decided to take part as a way to move beyond differences in beliefs to better the lives of others, Sacks said. Instead of face-to-face, they began interacting side-by-side.

“The beauty of side-by-side is it involves no theology, it’s street level and what it does isn’t produce agreement, it produces friendship,” Sacks said. “When you have friendship, you discover the people not ‘like us’ are people like us. When that happens, conversation can begin. It’s not easy, but when it is there, rooted in an existing friendship, it becomes real and it becomes strong.”

Duke and local community members are invited to Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ public talk at 5:30 p.m. March 28, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence,” the 2017 Terry Sanford Distinguished Lecture. The event will be held at the Fleishman Commons in the Sanford School of Public Policy. For more information, visit this website.

Mar 212017
 
 March 21, 2017  Tagged with:

What practices make it possible for human beings to flourish? How do we sustain those practices in a contemporary context?

These questions have stirred and motivated Dr. Farr Curlin in his research and work as a hospice and palliative care physician.

“I knew for years that I wanted to be a physician, and it frustrated me that in medical training we never talked about what medicine is for, nor about how to become the physicians we knew we were called to be,” said Curlin, the Josiah C. Trent Professor of Medical Humanities and a Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics. “I started encouraging students and colleagues to reason together about how to make use of medicine wisely in order to fulfill our obligations to care for one another and to live well within the limits and frailties of the human body.”

For nearly 15 years, the motivations for entering his profession have led Curlin to work with colleagues to foster scholarship, study, and training regarding the intersections of medicine, ethics, and religion. These motivations also led Curlin to the Kenan Institute for Ethics, where he hopes a new collection of research projects, interdisciplinary seminars, conferences, and courses of study will encourage faculty and students to investigate the characteristics of a life well lived and to reflect on the nature and purpose of being human.

This summer, Curlin will begin a new project called the Arete Initiative, named after the Greek word for human excellence. The initiative will be launched with philanthropic support and seeks to form a network of faculty across Duke. Taking inspiration from “classical, Aristotelian, virtue ethics,” the project will focus on “recovering and sustaining the virtues in contemporary life, especially in the workplace, the university, and the public square.”

“We’ll focus on business, law, teaching, medicine, and other domains of work for which Duke students are preparing,” Curlin said. “Instead of first asking, ‘what is allowed or not allowed?’ Rather, we will take a step back and ask, ‘What characterizes a good business leader? A good lawyer? A good teacher?’ What are the virtues and characteristics of those we take to be exemplars of these practices, and of human life more broadly?”

Curlin joined Duke University in 2014 and holds joint appointments in the School of Medicine, including its Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities & History of Medicine, and in Duke Divinity School, including its Initiative on Theology, Medicine and Culture. After graduating from medical school, he completed internal medicine residency training and fellowships in both health services research and clinical ethics at the University of Chicago before joining its faculty in 2003.

Nov 142016
 
 November 14, 2016

KIE Senior Fellow and Duke Divinity professor, Luke Bretherton, recently had an article on Brethertonthe Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Religion and Ethics website, entitled, “How to Go On? Democratic Politics in the Age of Trump.”

In it, Bretherton considers how Christians might move forward in a precarious political landscape like America’s current one, building bridges of relationship and communication with those with whom they disagree without overlooking gross injustices that work against a good and common life.

Read the article here.