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.

Feb 132018
 February 13, 2018  Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Celebrate the start of the new school year with the Kenan Institute for Ethics! Enjoy great food and reconnect with friends and colleagues after a summer away from campus!

Thursday, August 30th, 5:30 PM

West Duke Building Lawn, East Campus

Students, faculty, staff and their families are welcome!

Oct 202017
 October 20, 2017  Tagged with: , ,

The Cost of Opportunity: Educate to Liberate

Friday, April 20, 2018
8:30 am – 5:30 pm
Divinity School Room 0014W
Duke West Campus

See attached flyer for more details. The complete conference program can be found at https://sites.duke.edu/project_duke_baixada_project/cost-of-opportunity-educate-to-liberate/. The conference will be recorded and live streamed here.

Funded in part by a Kenan Institute for Ethics Campus Grant.

Oct 122017
 October 12, 2017  Tagged with: ,

Ethical shoppers sipping an Ethos bottle of water support sanitation in Tanzania, buying a pair of TOMS shoes automatically donates a pair of shoes to “a child in need,” and mixing with Belvedere RED vodka contributes to the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa.  Today’s marketplace is inundated with products supporting humanitarian causes that promise to give aid to beneficiaries, provide “good feelings” to consumers and promote the brands of corporations and humanitarian NGOs. The commodification of humanitarianism (turning people and causes into marketable things) is linked to the privatization of help (replacing public donors with private philanthropy) with significant and as of yet poorly understood consequences. Commodifying Compassion will introduce research exploring how “helping” has become a marketable commodity and how this impacts humanitarianism symbolically and materially.

The Duke Human Rights Center at the Kenan Institute for Ethics invites you to a panel discussion. Panelists include:

Lisa Ann Richey, Duke University and Roskilde University (Denmark), @BrandAid_World, “Implications of Commodifying Compassion on Business, Politics and Social Relations”

Alexandra Cosima Budabin, University of Dayton and Free University of Bolzano (Italy), @ABudabin,“Crafting Humanitarian Imaginaries: The Visual Story-Telling of Buy-One Give-One Marketing Campaigns”

Mie Vestergaard, Roskilde University (Denmark),“Private Business, Partnerships and Humanitarianism in Africa: ‘Win-Win – So Who Loses?’”

The panel will be moderated by

Catherine Mathers, International & Comparative Studies, Duke University

Follow Commodifying Compassion on Twitter  @CocoResearch


The event will be held on Thursday, April 12th from 4:30 – 6:00 pm in Room 101 (Ahmadieh Family Conference Room) West Duke

Please RSVP to sk272@duke.edu by Monday, April 9 at noon.


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 james.chappel@duke.edu.

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 (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.