Aug 082017
 August 8, 2017  Tagged with:

The conference will begin with a public forum on the notion of “sanctuary” itself, featuring both scholars and activists who will trace sanctuary from its medieval origins, its 19th century mobilization by the abolitionists, and its reemergence in the last 30 years. This will be followed by a daylong workshop on religious humanitarianism, urban activism, and environmentalism, which will think about the ways that sanctuary might help us to make sense of how different faith communities are mobilizing in ways that are not simply “political.”

For more information, please click here.


Thursday, 8 February

“The Logic of Sanctuary: A Public Forum”

5-7 PM, Goodson Chapel, Duke University

Introduced and moderated by Elizabeth Bruenig (Washington Post)

Confirmed panelists: Diya Abdo (director of Guilford College’s Every Campus a Refuge project); A. Naomi Paik (Asian American Studies, Urbana-Champaign); Julie Peeples (Senior Pastor at Congregational UCC, Greensboro)

Friday, 9 February

Three panels, all held in the Ahmadieh Family Lecture Hall, Smith Warehouse, Duke University

9 AM: coffee and light breakfast


Panel 1: Civic Activism: Religion in Urban Spaces

Chaired by Joshua Friedman (Center for Jewish Studies, Duke)

Beth Baron (History, Graduate Center/ CUNY), “The Hospital as Sanctuary: Missionaries, Bodies, and Blessings”

Moshe Kornfeld (Danforth Center, Washington University, St. Louis), “Seeking Sanctuary in New Orleans”

Brooks Jessup (History, UC Berkeley), “Civic Dharma: Buddhist Activism and Urban Space in Semi-colonial China”




Panel 2: Humanitarianism: Religion and the Body

Chaired by Luke Bretherton (Divinity School, Duke)

Julia Huang (Anthropology, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan), “Dying in Give: Buddhism and Cadaver Donations for Medical Science in Taiwan”

Carla Hung (Anthropology, Duke), “Lost in Translation: Sanctuary and Refugees in Rome, Italy”

Emanuel Schaueblin (Anthropology, Zurich), “Islamic interactions (mu‘āmalāt) as social protection in the occupied Palestinian territories”


Coffee break


Panel 3: Environmentalism: Religion and the Land

Chaired by Prasenjit Duara (History, Duke)

Catherine Flowers (FHI Practitioner in Residence), “Water and Faith in Lowndes County”

Ryan Juskus (Religious Studies, Duke), “The Cosmopolitics of Refuge: Associational Life in the Wake of So Much Damage”

Aaron Wolf (Geography, Oregon State), “The Spirit of Dialogue: Lessons from Faith Traditions in Transforming Water Conflicts”

For more information, contact James Chappel at

Sponsored by History, African and African American Studies (AAAS), Asian Pacific Studies Institute (APSI), Center for Jewish Studies, Divinity School, Duke Chapel, Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute (DHRC@FHI), Franklin Humanities Institute (FHI), Religions and Public Life at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, Nicholas School-Miscellaneous Events, and Religious Studies.

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 ( 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.