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 year, in addition to extending the Displacement, Resettlement and Global Mental Health research team, The Kenan Institute for Ethics is co-sponsoring three new projects thanks to the generous support of the Jon Silver Family Fund: Moral Judgments About and By Stimulant UsersThe Language of Genocide and Human Rights, and Living Donor Kidney Transplants and the Good Samaritan. These three projects align with KIE’s program areas and will feature a public symposium on the research findings. Additionally, faculty involved in the Rethinking Regulation program initiated an additional research team related to the Recalibrating Risk project. Students interested in connecting with one of these projects should fill out the online form.



This working group builds 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 is being augmented by additional fieldwork in Jordan and Nepal. Primary focus is on the effects of displacement/resettlement on three communities: Bhutanese, Iraqis and Syrians.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health

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.



This project explores moral attitudes, decisions, and judgments about regular use of stimulants (both illegal and prescription, such as Ritalin and Adderall) used therapeutically, recreationally, or as cognitive enhancers. Questions include: How different are the moral judgments of users and non-users? Do differences in moral judgments explain why some people use and others do not? Are these moral judgments based on harm to self or others or, instead, on fairness or disgust at perceived impurity or unnaturalness? Does the basis of these judgments vary between users and non-users? The project will construct and administer surveys to Duke students and to the general population. These surveys will attempt to clarify whether and how people distinguish heavy use, dependence, and addiction, when they view such use as morally wrong or bad, and whether they hold stimulant users responsible for any harms they cause.  Students will learn to assess such attitudes through web-based questionnaires and tests of implicit moral attitudes (e.g., Implicit Association Test). This project is a funded jointly by KIE and Bass Connections.

Bass Connections theme: Brain & Society
KIE program connection: Moral Attitudes and Decision-Making

Faculty team members:
Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Philosophy, Kenan Institute of Ethics)
Phil Costanzo (Psychology and Neuroscience)
Edward Levin (Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences)
Jesse Summers (Thompson Writing Program)
Student team members:
Rebecca Brenner (Undergraduate student)Victoria Lee (Graduate student)
Dustin Hadfield (Undergraduate student)
Kristie Kim (Undergraduate student)
Michelle Lee (Undergraduate student)
Lauren Miranda (Undergraduate student)
Anthony Oliveri (Graduate student)


While teaching at Duke Law School, Raphael Lemkin single-handedly drafted and lobbied for the passage of the Genocide Convention—approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948—as well as his landmark text Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. While writing the latter, Lemkin effectively coined the term “genocide”—referring to the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, caste, religious, or national group.” Fast-forward half a century: The term “genocide” is a mainstay of contemporary human rights discussion and policy, referring to a diverse swath of ethically charged human atrocities, from slavery to microbial disease. With diverse expertise and knowledge of linguistics, history, literature, public policy, political science, and human rights philosophy, this project aims to influence and improve international policy focused on the topic of genocide. This project is a funded jointly by KIE and Bass Connections as well as through Humanities Writ Large.

Bass Connections theme: Information, Society & Culture
KIE program connection: Human Rights

Faculty project members:
Bob Cook-Deegan (Public Policy, Global Health)
James Chappel (History)
Ruth Grant (Political Science and Philosophy)
Malachi Hacohen (History)
Priscilla Wald (English)

Staff team members:
Suzanne Katzenstein & Michaela Dwyer (Kenan Institute for Ethics)

Postdoctoral team member:
Christine Lillie (Cognitive Neuroscience)

Student team members:
Ivana Bago (Graduate student, Art, Art History and Visual Studies)
Matthew Cole (Graduate student, Political Science)
Sophia Durand (Undergraduate)
Brittany Nanan (Undergraduate)
Laura Roberts (Undergraduate)
Megan Steinkirchner (Undergraduate)
Daniel Stublen (Undergraduate)
Rachel Sun (Undergraduate)



The subject of non-simultaneous, extended, altruistic donor (NEAD) chains in the arena of kidney transplants concerns the problem of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which each year in the U.S. leads to 90,000 deaths and costs Medicare $28 billion. Even more, ESRD highlights the health disparities of African Americans and Hispanics, among others, and it raises a host of important questions across a wide variety of disciplines (chief among them: medicine, law, religion, public policy, global health, and various disciplines within the brain sciences). This project pulls together a team from medicine, divinity, law, sociology, and the brain sciences both to pose and to answer a series of questions that NEAD chains bring to the fore, including: 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? This project is a funded jointly by KIE and Bass Connections.

Bass Connections theme: Global Health
KIE program connection: Religions and Public Life

Faculty team members:
David Toole (KIE, Divinity and Global Health)
Kim Krawiec (Law)



This project is studying  how large scale crises 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.  With the help of an international, multidisciplinary team of scholars, this team is exploring these broad questions through three clusters of case studies  — about financial crashes, off-shore oil spills, and nuclear accidents.  The team is compiling recommendations concerning the best way for governments to learn from disasters/crises, such as creating additional permanent investigative bodies such as the United States National Transportation Safety Board and Chemical Safety Board as well as independent agencies that specialize in the assessment of crisis situations such as financial collapses and lesser market panics, offshore oil blow-outs and narrowly averted spills, nuclear meltdowns and near-meltdowns, or crises and near-crises in other policy domains.

Bass Connections theme: Brain & SocietyInformation, Society & Culture

Faculty team members:
Edward Balleisen (History)
Lori Bennear (Nicholas School of the Environment and Economics)
Kim Krawiec (Law)
Jonathan Wiener (Law)

Student team members:
David Cheang (Master’s candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment)
Jonathon Free (PhD. candidate, History)
Megan Hayes (Master’s candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment)
Emily Pechar (PhD. candidate, Nicholas School for the Environment)
Kate Preston (undergraduate majoring in Public Policy)