Jul 062018
 July 6, 2018  Tagged with:

The Religions and Public Life Initiative at the Kenan Institute for Ethics invites applications for graduate scholars for the academic year 2018-19.

Overview and Theme

The call is open to graduate and professional students, as well as postdocs, wishing to take part in monthly interdisciplinary student-led seminars on “Pain and Joy, Polemics and Praise in Religious Communities.” Projects exploring the ways in which members of religious communities represent, interpret, and act in response to suffering and good fortune, or to clashes between traditions and values, are especially welcome. However, the program conceives of religious experience and discourse broadly and will consider any project that investigates the extension of private devotion or ethical struggles into public contexts.

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 the 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. Funding for the graduate scholars also comes from generous support from the Duke Center for Jewish Studies.


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 will write 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. Additionally, scholars will take part in an end-of-year conference.


Graduate scholars receive $1,250 for participation. The sum is provided in two payments, one in November and one in April. Ten (10) awards will be made.

Application & Deadline

To apply, please submit the materials listed below to Deirdre White (deirdre.white@duke.edu) by August 6, 2018, with the subject line: “Religions & Public Life graduate scholars.” Awards will be announced by August 15, 2018.

  • Curriculum vita
  • Project description (1-2 pages) describing how it connects to the theme of “Pain and Joy, Polemics and Praise in Religious Communities.” Please include your topic and research objectives.
  • Research budget

Click for a PDF of this page.



Jun 222018
 June 22, 2018  Tagged with: , ,
Each year, the Kenan Institute for Ethics awards between 10 and 15 fellowships to outstanding graduate students at Duke University.

Students from any Duke graduate program may apply. What each cohort of Graduate Fellows will have in common is that their dissertation research engages in interesting ways with significant normative issues. Some students, for example – from disciplines such as philosophy, political theory, or theology – focus directly on fundamental ethical or political concepts and theories. Other fellows, from the sciences and social sciences, try to understand phenomena that are relevant to major, and often controversial, public policy debates. Still others attempt to resolve debates in their areas of research that seem to be sustained by long-standing disagreements over both empirical claims and ethical or ideological commitments.

The aim of the on-going discussions throughout the year, among the Fellows and KIE faculty members, is to enhance everyone’s ability to contribute to debates involving ethical issues, and to do so in ways that engage scholars and others within and outside of their own academic disciplines.

Ideal Graduate Fellow candidates will be in the third, fourth, or fifth year of their Ph.D. studies, finished all (or almost all) of their coursework requirements, but still developing new ideas and approaches for their dissertation research. Fellows each receive a stipend of $3,000 that supplements their current funding.

Graduate Fellows meet for a Monday seminar about a dozen times across the Fall and Spring semesters. These seminars usually feature visiting speakers and do not typically require preparation in advance. There are also two half-day workshops – one at the end of each term – in which Fellows showcase their own research.

Alumni in good standing of the Fellowship program will have access to conference- and research-travel funds during their final years in the Ph.D. program.

To apply: e-mail the application, along with a copy of your CV, to kie@duke.edu with the subject line “Graduate Fellowship.”

Deadline: 12 noon, Monday, July 23, 2018.

For further information, email kie@duke.edu with “Graduate Fellowship question” in the subject heading.

Mar 292018
 March 29, 2018  Tagged with:

Religions and Public Life at KIE encourages Duke graduate and undergraduate students to apply to our annual international summer school looking at issues in religion and public life. This year’s program will be held in Leipzig, Germany, July 23-29:

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: these religions rely on normative religious traditions, sometimes called ‘Holy Scriptures’. Today, late-modern or post-modern societies often ask if these normative texts are still meaningful and relevant.

Sponsored by the International Network on Interreligious Research and Education (INIRE), the Leipzig Summer School 2018 brings together researchers and scholars with different religious and professional backgrounds: scholars from Israel, the USA, and Germany, researchers in History, Bible, Quran, Theology, and Sociology of Religion.

The questions asked will include: What roles do “Torah”, “Bible”, and “Quran” play in the three monotheistic religions in the past and present? How are the old texts interpreted today? And how are they used in religious and political discussions? Are ‘holy texts’ relevant for ‘secular people’? And what role do ‘holy texts’ play in the dialogue of religions and discourse in our societies?

Students are asked to send serena.elliott@duke.edu a one-page essay detailing their interest in the program and how it fits into their current course of study. Airfare, lodging, and meals are all included for students selected for the program.

Summer School travel funding is provided by the Center for Jewish Studies at Duke University. The Summer School is co-sponsored by Religions and Public Life at KIE and Leipzig University, with support from other members of INIRE.

Feb 082018
 February 8, 2018

Religions and Public Life at KIE recently cosponsored the event, “Insights Into Extremism: Experiences from a Former Guantanamo Bay Interrogator and a Convicted Jihadist” on January 30, 2018. View media coverage of the event:

Katherine Berko, “Convicted jihadist, former Guantanamo Bay interrogator talk religious extremism
Duke Chronicle (31 January 2018)

Said@Duke: Ismail Royer on post-jihadist life Duke Today (7 February, 2018)

Feb 072018
 February 7, 2018

moral purpose
The call for submissions to the 2018 Kenan Moral Purpose Award essay competition is now open, with a deadline of midnight on Monday, March 19. The Kenan Moral Purpose Award is given for the best undergraduate student essay on the role a liberal arts education plays in students’ exploration of the personal and social purposes by which to orient their future and the intellectual, emotional, and moral commitments that make for a full life.

More information and submission instructions here: http://kenan.ethics.duke.edu/students/kenan-moral-purpose-award/

Dec 232017
 December 23, 2017

Duke Center for Jewish Studies, in connection with the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library are pleased to announce the availability of new fellowships, with awards of up to $1500, to support scholars, students and independent researchers whose work would benefit from access to the Judaica materials held by the Rubenstein Library, the Duke Divinity School Library and/or Perkins Library.

The Jewish Studies collections at Duke Libraries include a wide variety of resources — from current publications, films and videos to rare and unique manuscripts and archival material. The Rubenstein Library hosts an impressive collection of Pesach Haggadot that spans more than 1,000 years of history, represents five continents, is written in several different languages and has a variety of specific purposes. Many of these Haggadot are part of the Abram and Frances Pascher Kanof Collection of Jewish Art, Archaelogy and Symbolism, which also has an exceptional collection of unique art books by Jewish and Israeli artists and has Jewish ceremonial art pieces. The Rubenstein Library’s Southern Jewish History collections include the personal papers of prominent Jewish families and individuals in the region. In addition, the Rubenstein Library’s Human Rights Archive holds the personal papers of the distinguished Jewish rabbi and human rights activist Marshall T. Meyer and those of Jewish philosopher and theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel.

Further information, as well as the application and instructions, can be found at the following: https://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/research/grants-and-fellowships/jewish-studies

Nov 292017
 November 29, 2017

Daniela R. P. Weiner, a Religions and Public Life Graduate Fellow and PhD student in the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, recently published an article titled ‘Tendentious texts: Holocaust representations andnation-rebuilding in East German, Italian, and West German schoolbooks, 1949-1989′ in the Journal of Modern Jewish Studies.