Bass Connections

Bass Connections at Duke supports vertically integrated teams of students and faculty across campus to engage in problem-based research built around five core themes: Brain & Society; Information, Society & Culture; Global Health; Education & Human Development; and Energy.



This working group is building on the existing archive of refugee narratives from urban, refugee camp, and resettlement contexts gathered through KIE’s DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted program. Using this prior research as a point of departure, the group is studying how the resettlement process, a global and transnational program where refugees are provided settlement in countries such as the United States, affects the mental health and well-being of refugees.

While there are growing bodies of research on pre- and post-displacement, this project is innovative in that it considers resettlement as a global process which has implications for refugee health at different points, from the country of first asylum to the resettlement country. Prior research will be augmented by additional fieldwork in Jordan and Nepal. Primary focus will be on the effects of displacement/resettlement on three communities: Bhutanese, Iraqis and Syrians.

Faculty team members:
Suzanne Shanahan, Sociology and Kenan Institute for Ethics
Eve Puffer, Psychology & Neuroscience and Duke Global Health Institute
Abdul Sattar Jawad, Asian & Middle Eastern Studies
Postdoctoral Fellow team member:
Nadia El-Sharaawi, Kenan Institute for Ethics


Undergraduate and Graduate Student team members:

Grace-BensonGrace Benson is a senior from Blacksburg, Virginia. She is a Public Policy Studies major with a certificate in the Study of Ethics. She currently co-directs KIE’s MASTERY, a tutoring and mentorship program for refugee youth.

Kiran-BhaiKiran Bhai is a senior from Dallas, Texas with a Program II major in Global Health Policy and Ethics. Kiran has been involved with the Kenan Institute for Ethics since her freshman year and has focused on refugee studies.

Sonia-HatfieldSonia Hatfield graduated from the University of Florida in 2010 with a degree in Linguistics. She spent a year as a Social Justice Fellow with the New Israel Fund and has worked with resettled refugee youth in the Houston area.

kelly-howardkKelly Howard is a senior from Tucson, Arizona. She is an Evolutionary Anthropology (B.S.) major with a certificate in the Study of Ethics, and is thrilled to have found Kenan through DukeImmerse her sophomore year.

esther-kimkEsther Kim is a senior from Cleveland, Ohio. She is a political science major with a certificate in the study of ethics. Esther has been involved with KIE in various capacities, and she is using her research to write a thesis.

Malena-PriceMalena Price is a rising Junior from Poughkeepsie, NY. She is majoring in International Comparative Studies with a focus on the Middle East and she is also studying Advanced Arabic.

Leena-ElSadekLeena El-Sadek is a junior from Jackson, Mississippi. She is majoring in Cultural Anthropology and Global Health with a concentration in the physical and mental well-being of refugees and a minor in Psychology.

Jenny-ShermanJennifer Sherman is a senior from Cleveland, Ohio majoring in Cultural Anthropology with a minor in Theater Studies. She is the co-director of Kenan’s MASTERY program for resettled refugee youth in Durham.

Julie-stefanichJulie Stefanich is a senior from Rochester, NY. An alum of the Ethics, Leadership, and Global Citizenship Focus cluster, Julie has worked on migrant and refugee issues with DukeEngage Dublin and DukeImmerse Uprooted/Rerouted.

Libby-MacfarlaneLibby King MacFarlane is a first year student in the Master of Science of Global Health program. She earned a BA in Economics from Wellesley College. She is specifically interested in the psychosocial impacts of displacement due to natural disasters and/or civil conflict.


KIE has partnered with Bass Connections to create opportunities for projects with ethical components. Thanks to the generous support of the Jon Silver Family Fund, these projects receive additional funding, but must align with KIE’s program areas and feature a public symposium on the research. Students interested in connecting with one of these projects should fill out the online form.

“Moral Judgments About and By Stimulant Users”
Bass Connections theme: Brain & Society
KIE program connection: Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making
Faculty leadership: Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Philosophy and Ethics); Phil Costanzo (Psychology and Neuroscience)
This project will explore moral attitudes, decisions, and judgments about regular use of stimulants used therapeutically, recreationally, or as cognitive enhancers (with or without a prescription).

“The Language of Genocide and Human Rights”
Bass Connections theme: Information, Society & Culture
KIE program connection: Human Rights
Faculty leadership: Ruth Grant (Political Science and Philosophy); Malachi Hacohen (History)
This project will pull from the diverse knowledge of linguistics, history, literature, public policy, political science, and human rights philosophy to take aim at what happens in the discrepancies between etymology and policy, between rhetorical charge and political action.

“Living Donor Kidney Transplants and the Good Samaritan: The Religious, Legal, and Ethical Challenges of Non-simultaneous, Extended, Altruistic Donor Chains”
Bass Connections theme: Global Health and Brain & Society
KIE program connection: Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making
Faculty leadership: David Toole (Divinity and Global Health); Kim Krawiec (Law)
What motivates the small number of people willing to give a kidney to a complete stranger? Are the agreements between donor pairs contractual and enforceable? Can Non-simultaneous, extended, altruistic donor chains become international?

Additionally, faculty involved in our Rethinking Regulation program will be heading up another project:

Regulatory Disaster Scene Investigation
Bass Connections theme: Brain & Society; Information, Society & Culture
Faculty leadership: Lori Bennear (Nicholas School of the Environment and Economics); Jonathan Wiener (Law); Edward Balleisen (History); Kim Krawiec (Law)
As events during the past few years remind us, modern industrialized societies frequently experience large-scale disasters and crises. We are studying how these events change perceptions of risk, both among elites and ordinary citizens, and then how these shifts in risk perceptions do (or do not) influence changes in regulatory policies.