Understanding the Global Refugee Crisis
De-Constructing/Re-Constructing the Refugee Experience explores the dynamics of the current crisis and the challenges it poses for refugees, host communities and international law. It aims to offer concrete research-based interventions to address both the causes and consequences of this crisis. Duke students and faculty collaborate both with refugee communities and international, national and local NGOs working with these communities. Working from a variety of methodological, theoretical, disciplinary and political perspectives, participants address a single research question: how does displacement affect the well-being and the social identity of those displaced?
DukeImmerse:De-Constructing/Re-Constructing students work together through a semester of four classes and with a month of field research abroad.
History of the Program
Originally called Uprooted/Rerouted, the program in its first two years involved a systematic comparison of Bhutanese and Iraqi refugees, two of the three groups the U.S. State Department and Office of Homeland Security have specially targeted for resettlement, and the two fastest growing refugee populations in Durham and surrounding areas. In 2014, as part of the Bass Connections working group in Displacement, Resettlement and Global Mental Health, Syrian refugee populations were included as well.
The Bhutanese were expelled from Bhutan two decades ago, lived in poverty in refugee camps, are largely illiterate, mostly don’t speak English, mostly come from agricultural backgrounds, and tend to convert from Hinduism to Christianity just before or after resettlement. The Iraqis left only recently, spent little or no time in refugee camps, are solidly middle-class, highly educated professionals, speak fluent English, and don’t tend to convert. How do these factors affect the likelihood of successful resettlement?
Meet the 2017 De-Constructing/Re-Constructing Students
Spring 2017 Courses
Global Migration and Ethics (Ethics/CulAnth/ICS):
Field Ethics (Ethics/Sociology):
Arab Society in Culture and Film (AMES/Ethics):
Examination of Arab worldviews (including cultural variations, artistic expressions, view about gender, and religion, and perspectives toward the U.S.). Explores the development of images of the Arab and seeks to understand them in the context of the Arab world as well as in its relationship to the West. Analyzes the dynamics between norms of modern civil society and those dictated by religious traditions. Critically examines current Western assumptions, representations and understanding of Arab societies, and the moral frameworks in which different choices are debated in the Arab context. Areas of Knowledge: ALP, CZ. Modes of Inquiry: CCI, EI. Instructor: Mbaye Lo.
Refugee Policy and Practice (Ethics/ICS/PolSci):
Contact Professor Suzanne Shanahan with any additional questions.
DukeImmerse is a partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
Previous Years of DukeImmerse
The Spring 2016 students traveled to Amman, Jordan for their month of field research from mid-February to mid-March. Check their letters home to learn about their time collecting refugee narratives.