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. The program is not being offered in Spring 2015.

Uprooted/Rerouted supported and understanding of the contemporary dynamics of displacement and the challenges it poses. It aimed 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?


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?


DukeImmerse Students Spring 2014 

Lily Doron is a freshman from Durham, NC, and is undeclared in her major. Lily is on the Duke club soccer team, volunteers with Church World Service, and assistant coaches a Special Olympics soccer team.

Nali Gillespie is a junior from San Diego, CA, and she is majoring in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (also premed). She also volunteers with Duke EMS and works in Dean Nowicki’s animal behavior lab. In her spare time, she loves to dance, as ballet is one of her greatest passions outside of school.

Meron Hailu is a junior from Alexandria, VA, majoring in economics with a sociology minor. She is an active member of Duke’s Nourish International chapter and is an intern for SymbologyClothing. She is interested in international development and nonprofit work.

Molly Howard is a freshman from Tucson, Arizona, interested in studying Public Policy. Molly hopes to pursue a Policy Journalism & Media Studies Certificate and attend law school after graduating from Duke.

Elizabeth Hoyler is a sophomore hoping to major in Global Health and Public Policy with an Economics minor. She is in the Swing Dance performance group at Duke, and hopes to travel to as many World Heritage sites as she can.

Olivia Johnson is a freshman from Washington, DC, hoping to major in ICS and Political Science. Olivia is involved in Duke Debate, MASTERY tutoring, Bassett House Council, InterVarsity, and America Reads America Counts.

Michelle Khalid is a freshman from Clermont, Florida, hoping to major in Cultural Anthropology. She is a member of USAS, Global Brigades, and To Write Love on Her Arms.

Christie Lawrence is a sophomore from Charleston, SC, hoping to major in Public Policy with a Turkish Language and Culture minor. Christie is a member of Think Before You Talk, a member of American Grand Strategy’s Undergraduate Council, treasurer of Ubuntu, a DJ for WXDU, and intern for the “It’s Your Move” campaign.

Josephine Ramseyer is a sophomore from Paris, France, hoping to double major in English and international comparative studies with a concentration in South American studies. She has plans to pursue a career in human rights law.

Krystelle Rocourt is a freshman from Haiti hoping to major in International Comparative Studies with a minor in English. Krystelle is a member of Cambridge Christian Fellowship and enjoys photography and contemporary dance.

Tra Tran is a junior from New Mexico double majoring in psychology and cultural anthropology. She plans on going to graduate school for clinical psychology with a concentration in cultural psychology. She is a member of MASTERY, SFER, and Mirecourt.

Sasha Zients is a freshman from Washington, DC, hoping to major in International Comparative Studies, focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, with a certificate in Ethics. Sasha is a staff writer for The Duke Chronicle and enjoys tutoring with MASTERY.



Immerse-photosCourses include

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.