DukeImmerse: Uprooted/ Rerouted

Four courses. Four weeks abroad. One theme. One semester.

Immerse-400x300Think of DukeImmerse: Uprooted/Rerouted as Focus on steroids: a semester-long, research-based, student-faculty collaboration on a single theme–forced migration–plus a weekly dinner meeting and a four-week mid-semester field trip to work with refugees abroad. 

Uprooted/Rerouted supports an understanding of the contemporary dynamics of displacement and the challenges it poses. It aims to offer concrete research-based interventions to address both the causes and consequences of displacement. Duke students and faculty collaborated 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 addressed a single research question: how does displacement affect the well-being and the social identity of those displaced?

Students interested in applying for Spring 2016 should contact Suzanne Shanahan (suzanne.shanahan@duke.edu). Applications will be due Wednesday, October 28.


Uprooted/Rerouted 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?


Immerse-photosPrevious courses included

Global Migration and Ethics (Ethics/CulAnth.):

 An overview of current scholarship on the anthropology of global migration, and the key ethical predicaments at the center of contemporary forms of human mobility. Featuring an anthropological examination of current debates drawing on ethnographic texts, legal and policy materials, biography, literature and film. Areas of Knowledge: CZ, SS. Modes of Inquiry: EI. Meeting time TBD.

Field Ethics (Ethics):

An introduction to methods of social scientific field research, including principles of research design, particularly surveys and interviews, with a substantial focus on data analysis and interpretation. Students will also learn a variety of visual methods, including mapping and photo elicitation. Emphasis on the ethics of research design, implementation, and presentation and ethics of research with vulnerable populations. Areas of Knowledge: SS, ALP. Modes of Inquiry: EI, R, W. Meeting time TBD.

Displacement and Global Health (Ethics/Global Health/CulAnth):

A discussion of the health consequences of global displacement, including nutrition, mental health and lifestyle diseases, with a focus on social/community impacts and policy solutions. Particular attention will be paid to the ethics of asylum and the extent to which refugees are actually afforded the physical and mental health protection and support they need. Areas of Knowledge: SS. Modes of Inquiry: CCI, EI. Meeting time TBD.

Refugee Policies and Practice (Ethics/ICS/PolSci):

An exploration of the policies and practices affecting refugees. Particular attention will be paid to Bhutanese refugees of Nepali descent, and to refugees resettled in Durham. Involves fieldwork and community engagement activities—this is a service learning course. Areas of Knowledge: SS. Modes of Inquiry: CCI, EI. Meeting time TBD.

Contact Professor Suzanne Shanahan with any additional questions.

DukeImmerse is a partnership between the Office of Undergraduate Education and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.