New spring courses for first year students

Need a seminar for the spring? Check out these great options:

What Now? Creative Collaboration in the Arts
What Now? Creative Collaboration in the Arts
W 10:15AM-12:45PM
How is it possible to create great art with someone else? This course answers that question by examining music, visual arts, and literature. Our main references are the Beatles and Duke Ellington, who reached extraordinary levels of accomplishment thanks to vigorous, unmatched levels of collaborative interaction. We also look at Picasso and Braque, Kehinde Wiley, Warhol, Dutch workshops in the seventeenth century, architectural studios, Charles Dickens, T.S. Eliot, and movies. What we might call the ethics of collaboration plays out differently in these two ensembles. Musicians who helped Ellington were largely hidden due to the goal of establishing him as a genius composer who did it all by himself. The Beatles, in contrast, carefully cultivated the image of an egalitarian musical collective, and this image came to dominate rock during the 1960s. By examining creative collaboration across varied fields, students will explore how great innovations come about, what we ow those with whom we collaborate, and how successful models for creation reverberate across time.

Professor: Thomas Brothers

What Now? Film School
What Now? Film School: Reimagining Education Through Fiction & Film
T 3:30 – 6:00PM
When we think of “school,” most of us envision rooms full of desks in rows with students facing a teacher imparting knowledge. Was this nearly-250-year-old way of learning ever the best way to educate? In this course we will explore this question through film and fiction to help us to reconsider what education is—and also what it could be: Why are we here at Duke? What really is the purpose of education? We will use imagined worlds of speculative fiction and sci-fi to interrogate and critically re-examine our own educational experiences—in classrooms, in our personal lives and in larger patterns of education globally. Through this work, we will analyze the choices and decisions educators make in designing curriculum, choosing approaches to teaching, organizing learning experiences, and creating educational spaces. Students will put these ideas into practice via a service-learning experience in local schools in which undergraduates co-develop creative futuristic projects with K-12 students.

Professors: David Malone & Sarah Ishmael

Team Kenan Fellowship Application Now Open

team kenan logoTeam Kenan is a part of the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ social and intellectual community, creating spaces for students, faculty, and Institute staff to think and talk about ethics outside of the classroom in fun and engaging ways. Team Kenan serves as a complement to the Institute’s curricular offerings, giving students who are interested in ethics additional opportunities to chat, think, and challenge one another and the wider Duke community. The team, made up of a diverse cross-section of Duke students, engages the Duke community through “couching,” Kenan’s mobile living room. Team Kenan members invite students to sit and discuss selected topics related to ethics. Meant to inspire spontaneous, unplanned moments of connection, the TK Couch brings ethical inquiry (and comfy chairs) to Duke students wherever they might be.

In addition to couching, Team Kenan also plans and participates in other events in coordination with the staff at the Institute. Team Kenan members are expected to be part of the Kenan community, which involves becoming familiar with and participating in Kenan’s wider programming. Members of Team Kenan will develop interviewing and surveying skills, learn methods for effective communication in conversation, writing, and design, work on personal and professional presentation, and take part in event planning.

Team Kenan participants will receive a $1000 honorarium. The renewal of the contract for the spring semester is not automatic; members will be invited to continue as fellows based on their December evaluations.

Click to Apply

2020-2021 Graduate Arts Fellow in Experimental and Documentary Arts Moriah LeFebvre

Moriah Lefebvre The Institute is pleased to introduce Moriah LeFebvre as the Kenan Graduate Arts Fellow in Experimental and Documentary Arts for the 2020-2021 academic year.

LeFebvre’s undergraduate background is in fine art production, and she has worked for years as a professional painter and mixed media artist. Now in her second year in the MFA|EDA program, she is exploring how traditional hand drawing and painting can enhance documentary storytelling. LeFebvre is in the process of creating work for a mixed media exhibit to be shown in the Keohane-Kenan Gallery and virtually this spring. The exhibit, called Works In Rough Going, focuses on the wrenching loss of community for people in substance abuse recovery in the wake of COVID-19. For months, in-person meetings, long a supportive lifeline for people emerging from alcohol and drug abuse, were all canceled due to the coronavirus. New, virtual ways of engaging have sprung up in the intervening months, offering new, if imperfect, ways of engaging. LeFebvre’s work asks important questions about the nature of community, the immense toll of life under lockdown for vulnerable populations, and how communities continue to care and protect one another when their normal ways of doing so are impossible.

Working with a population for which anonymity is paramount created interesting challenges for LeFebvre. Her background as a fine artist comes into play here through work that renders the images and words of the people she documents in ways that still protect their privacy and the specifics of their stories.

A native of Durham, LeFebvre has worked in a range of media to explore various themes, including transience, identity, interpersonal connection, and home. In 2013 LeFebvre became a mother to identical twins and her work pivoted to focus on their shared hometown. Her work from 2014 to present has largely focused on documenting the changing landscape of Durham. Awarded the 2015 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Award in support of her “Hometown (Inherited)” project, LeFebvre has created a large body of mixed media pieces that serve to capture and preserve fleeting moments in this time of ever-escalating environmental transformation. The work has been shown in half a dozen solo exhibits in such spaces as Through This Lens, The Durham Arts Council, and the The Triangle Community Foundations. Pieces from this series can be found in collections both public and private. In 2017, LeFebvre was selected to partner with Duke’s Bull City 150 project and create work for their public history exhibition “Uneven Ground: The Foundations of Housing Inequality in Durham.” A recipient of the 2019 David and Elizabeth Roderick Scholarship Award at Duke University, LeFebvre is working to expand her ability to tell complex and powerful stories through a blending of analog approaches and experimental media.

New Signature Course: Reimagining the World Together

Before COVID-19 and the tragic, senseless death of George Floyd, the future was uncertain: climate change, political polarization, a global refugee crisis, police brutality in America, the rise of authoritarianism, and inequities in health and wealth were putting the future in question. Nonetheless, many of us had the benefit of facing these challenges from a relatively stable present. We went to school and to work; some of us played sports, all of us were fans; we shook hands with strangers, hugged friends and family; we boarded airplanes, trains, and buses worried only whether our bags would fit. These things were routine. Now they aren’t.

And still, the previous challenges remain and, in many cases, have been put in stark relief. The pandemic threatens to fracture an already divided political landscape, and the aftermath of George Floyd’s death — perhaps more so than other Black women, men, and children whose lives ended far too soon — has exposed weaknesses and long-held injustices in almost all of our systems, not least, higher education. When the present itself is unstable and uncertain, how do we plan for the future? How do we get there from here?

Reimagining the World Together: Why Friendship Matters for Our Future is a course that seeks to answer that question through a series of moderated conversations between pairs of friends who will talk about their friendship and their work and bring their imaginations to bear on the future.

Confirmed guests will include:

  • William Barber and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove
  • Jim Yong Kim and Marshall Goldsmith
  • Paul Farmer and Todd McCormack
  • Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods
  • Shane Battier and Ravi Gupta
  • Mike Merson and Kathleen Cravero
  • Sonia Shah and Anthony Arnove

The class will meet online on Thursdays from 5:15-7:30pm during fall semester. Students: register for ETHICS 387 — cross-listed as POLSCI 387, GLHLTH 387, SOCIOL 387, PUBPOL 385, and ICS 371

What Is Good Art? Call for proposals

The Kenan Institute for Ethics invites students from across Duke to submit artwork for What Is Good Art?–an exhibit on ethics and art, to be shown virtually.

The theme for the show is “Ethics in the Age of Coronavirus” Works should explore how we should live during COVID-19, focusing on the role that art plays in our lives and its impact on how we see the world during a global pandemic. When social distancing, self-isolation, and stay-at-home directives are in place, what meaning does community hold and what new forms does it take?

Because work will be displayed in an online gallery, only submissions that can be reproduced virtually without degradation will be considered. These include:
• Digital photographs or manipulations
• Video
• Digital illustrations

The submission deadline has been extended to 11:59pm (EDT), May 2, 2020.

Competition Rules

The competition is open to all currently-enrolled Duke undergraduate and graduate students.
• All submissions must be submitted via the submission form on the Kenan Institute for Ethics’ website by 11:59:59 pm EDT on April 26, 2020.
• All submissions must be original artwork created by the artist(s) indicated on the submission form.
• Each individual artist may submit up to two (2) pieces for consideration.
• Groups may submit single works, provided none of none of their members exceed two submissions.
• Artwork may be in any two-dimensional format that can be digitally reproduced without degradation, including the following:

  • Digital photographs or manipulations
  • Digital illustrations
  • Video (not to exceed 10 minutes in length)

• Still work should be submitted as a jpeg file, with a 5 megapixel (2560 x 1920px) minimum resolution, in sRGB
• Video work should be submitted as an mp4 file, with a minimum resolution of 720p<
• Artists should include a 1-3 paragraph explanation of the work as part the submission form. The judging panel will use this statement when evaluating the piece. If the piece is selected, the statement will be mounted alongside the work.
• A panel of faculty and staff will judge submissions based on effectiveness in fusing interesting ethical ideas and artistic expression.
• Selected pieces will be displayed in a virtual art gallery hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics by May 4, followed by a virtual gallery opening.

Click here to submit work

Purpose coaching

Students who can align their interests and abilities with something bigger than themselves are more likely to be happy, excellent in their work, comfortable with uncertainty, and resilient in the face of disappointment. Purpose-oriented students are, simply put, more likely to thrive in complex, pressurized, and diverse environments—those like Duke. But purpose discernment is a skill—one best incubated in a supportive and structured way.

This summer, the Kenan Institute for Ethics is offering group purpose coaching sessions. We’ll begin with sessions for undergraduates and plan to expand to graduate/professional students and alumni in the coming weeks. Our goal is to facilitate a group processing of the current moment in all its complexity—together. What values, norms, and imperatives shape how we think about where we are going in life? How might we forge greater alignment between what we think is important and how we spend our time? Each session will explore a different topic as a springboard to a wide-ranging conversation on what purpose means now, and each session will end with concrete steps participants can take to move forward.

Times indicated are PM, EDT unless otherwise noted. We would like to accommodate students with diverse schedules in many time zones, please contact us if you are a student interested in joining a session at a different time. For scheduling queries or more information, contact Christian Ferney.