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.
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.

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.

Feb 282017
 
 February 28, 2017  Tagged with:

Join the Kenan Institute for Ethics for its annual celebration kicking off the new academic year. Enjoy food and reconnect with friends after a summer away from campus. The event starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be held on the lawn outside the West Duke Building on East Campus.

Students, faculty, staff and their families are welcome.

Nov 012016
 
 November 1, 2016  Tagged with: ,

RPLI-book
Please join us for a roundtable discussion of our colleague Mona Hassan’s new book Longing for the Lost Caliphate: A Transregional History (Princeton University Press, December 2016) with Richard Bulliet (Columbia University) and Vincent Cornell (Emory University).

Richard Bulliet and Vincent Cornell will present on the scholarly interventions of Longing for the Lost Caliphate followed by Mona Hassan’s response as the author and an open discussion of the book among those in attendance.

RSVP for the lunch on this form or by emailing Bruce Hall.

The roundtable is sponsored by the Triangle Seminar on the Histories of Muslim Societies & Communities, the Graduate Program in Religion, and Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics.

Monday, May 1
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
225 Friedl, East Campus