2018-2019 Graduate Working Groups on Global Issues

  • Challenges in International Development 
    Challenges in International Development is a group of students conducting research in different fields of development economics such as health economics, industrial organization, the economics of education, public economics, and political economy in many countries around the world. Our regular meetings follow a schedule that enables all group members to present their current work, new ideas, and challenges faced in their projects. The meetings aim at giving constructive feedback and suggesting potential research avenues, while putting together different perspectives under the umbrella of the economics of development.
    Contacts: Amanda Grittner  |  amanda.grittner@duke.edu  ||  Ranae Jabri  |  r.jabri@duke.edu
  • Forest Elephant
    The Forest Elephant Working Group is a diverse group of Duke and international students, researchers and faculty focused on applied research to aid in the conservation of this rapidly disappearing, charismatic species and to better understand the ecological roles played by forest elephants. Meeting weekly, we read the available scientific literature, analyze GPS and field collected data, as well as produce reports for the Gabonese government or academic journal articles to share our findings.
    Contact: Amelia Meier  |  amelia.meier@duke.edu
  • Graduates Engineering & Researching Microbiomes (GERM)
    Our working group brings together students with a wide variety of academic backgrounds to examine complex microbial communities ("microbiomes"). This collective is comprised mainly of students from engineering, biology, and statistics, though all are welcome. Through monthly meetings, this group strives to improve cross-departmental collaboration for microbiome research, while also providing a forum for Duke researchers to trouble-shoot obstacles, internally peer-review ongoing projects, and learn new methods of analyzing microbiomes. Additionally, speakers from industry are occasionally invited to discuss how they are using and exploring microbiomes outside of academia. 
    Contact: Alex McCumber  |  awm27@duke.edu
  • Global Environmental Health & Energy
    The GEHE Working Group brings together students working on global environmental health, energy access and energy poverty. We create a forum for students to share their own research at all stages and to receive feedback from an engaged, interdisciplinary audience. GEHE members are involved with the global health and energy communities, and we share new and exciting research and networking opportunities through our working group platform. We are committed to igniting a research and policy dialogue surrounding these under-studied, global issues.
    Contact: Emily Pakhtigian  |  emily.pakhtigian@duke.edu
  • Identity, Subjectivity & Urban Imagination in East Asia

    Our working group approaches the issue of the imagination and construction of identity, subjectivity and urban landscape from different disciplines, both quantitatively and qualitatively, during transitional periods in East Asia starting in the early 20th century. The group welcomes various entry points and methodologies in our research and discussions, which include literary studies, media studies, urban studies, history, political science, and critical theory, among others.
    Contact: Dingding Wang  |  dingding.wang@duke.edu

  • Informed Choices for Equitable Development

    ICED working group will generate discussion around contemporary development research related directly to context-specific inequality; identify and evaluate the distributional impacts of development policy by making meaningful assessments of improvements to human well-being at the different socio-economic levels impacted by a policy change; and foster an environment for new research among students with a primary or peripheral research interest in inequality among specific populations of interest.
    Contact: Romina Tome  |  romina.tome@duke.edu

  • Land Conflicts & Reforms in Africa: Past, Present & Future
    Africa has one of the richest cache of natural resources, making some of its lands highly valuable and coveted. The struggle to control its land and resources has been one of the major sources of conflict on the African continent. The goal of our working group is to facilitate a discussion about the history of land conflicts in Africa, the various reformation efforts currently being undertaken, the effectiveness of these efforts, and their impacts on social, political and economic growth in Africa today.
    Contact: Oluwadamilola Lawal  |  ool2@duke.edu
  • Marxism: History, Theory & Practice
    Marxism: History, Theory & Practice is an interdisciplinary working group that brings together graduate students who engage with historical materialism and critical theory to share their research and to learn from each other and senior scholars in the field. This collective incorporates students from a wide range of departments, such as Literature, History and Cultural Anthropology, among others, to investigate together our key problematics of racial, gender and class inequalities, exploitation and labor, environment and development, and ideologies and social movements. We meet once a week and discuss theoretical literature as well as case studies in history, political economy and anthropology.
    Contact: Roman Gilmintinov  |  roman.gilmintinov@duke.edu
  • The Moving Aesthetics of Empire
    Among a welter of symbols, empire evokes order, discipline, domination, and hierarchy. One of the crucial ways in which societies performed these formations was through visual language: through the livery of colonial dress, imposing administrative architecture, and the sweeping visions of imperial landscape painting. Another way was through narrative: from the bawdiest limericks mocking barbarian depravity to the steely taxonomies of racist ethnographies. Yet it was film that married visual language to narrative symbolism in ways that could bring the politics and emotions of empire home to vast stretches of the global community. The purpose of this group is screen a global series of films in order to analyze and compare the aesthetics of empire across different genres, times and regions.
    Contact: Mohammed S. Ali  |  mohammed.s.ali@duke.edu
  • Ocean Policy
    The Ocean Policy Working Group is an interdisciplinary graduate and professional student working group at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. OPWG works to facilitate cross-disciplinary discussions and collaborations that explore the current issues pertaining to political, economic, scientific, and cultural dimensions of human interactions with the ocean. We strive to relate to an audience beyond those that directly study the coast. Some of the topics OPWG explores include ocean governance, coastal communities, human health & marine food supply, cultural connections to the coast, marine resources management, and environmental change.
    Website: https://sites.duke.edu/opwg/
    Contacts: Waverly Reibel waverly.reibel@duke.edu  ||  Emily Melvin  |  emily.melvin@duke.edu
  • Slavery, War & Gender
    The Working Group in Slavery, War, & Gender seeks to provide graduate students who work in the field of women and gender in slavery and war (whether in the U.S. or other countries) with opportunities to learn from and share their writing and ideas with senior scholars in the field and each other. By inviting scholars from other institutions to take part in graduate student workshops at Duke, we create spaces for brainstorming, discussion and collaboration, with an emphasis on thinking through the process of scholarly writing and publishing.  We will also sponsor gatherings that will focus on selected readings.  We see this as an interdisciplinary enterprise that will attract graduate students from departments across campus.
    Contacts: Jacqueline Mercier Allain  |  jma94@duke.edu  ||  Sarah Amundson  |  sarah.amundson@duke.edu  ||  Ayanna Legros  |  ayanna.legros@duke.edu
  • State & Economic Development in Asia
    The goal of our working group is to build up a network for social scientists who are interested in the politico-economic origins and consequences of state building in Asia, such as civil wars, economic development and political behavior. By creating such a working group, we hope to provide an inspiring environment in which young scholars from different disciplines are able to share their perspectives and develop long-term cooperation.
    Contacts: Peng Peng  |  peng.peng@duke.edu  ||  Ngoc Phan  |  ngoc.phan@duke.edu