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History

The Duke University Center for International Studies, launched in 1967, is the university’s major administrative structure for coordinating and promoting interdisciplinary international research, training and teaching. It has been the home to many of Duke’s international and area studies programs as they first developed.

In spring 2000, the Center was designated one of ten National Resources Center for International Studies by the U.S. Department of Education. The three-year funding has allowed the University to enhance international components in several schools and programs including Engineering, Environment, Law, Medicine and Public Policy. The grant supports development of new courses as part of Duke’s new Curriculum 2000; the redesign of core courses in the undergraduate Comparative Area Studies major; and the introduction of Turkish language instruction. Outreach to the community, state and region is an important element of the work of a National Resource Center. The Center continues to organize summer institutes for college faculty, launched a collaborative effort with area art museums—”Project on the Arts in Context,” and began in Spring 2002 to offer webstreamed lecture series (with some designated viewing sites around North Carolina) beginning with one on contemporary Islam.

Fall 2000 marked an important transition for the Center. Not only did it begin the new projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education, it also moved from its original home on Duke’s Campus Drive to join with a number of other Duke interdisciplinary and international centers in the newly renovated John Hope Franklin Center for Interdisciplinary and International Studies. The new Center honors the life and work of John Hope Franklin, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History. Professor Franklin pioneered the interdisciplinary and international study of race and race relations.

The 33,000 square foot Franklin Center is located in the former Hanes Annex, a two-story Georgian colonial building built in 1942 by pioneer Durham architect George Hackney. The new facility has nearly 70 offices and carrels, a multi-media conference room, four seminar rooms, a classroom, lounges, and gallery spaces. The building has been planned to foster a sense of intellectual community supported by advanced information technology.

The Center for International Studies encourages the development of new initiatives by faculty and students that cross the borders of disciplines and world regions. Working groups and research clusters provide opportunities for the collegial exploration of old and new global issues. Current topics include globalization and equity; regional security; international law and security; globalization and the arts; and immigration, ethnicity and citizenship. The Center also supports non-credit interdisciplinary seminars organized by graduate and professional school students.

A major focus of the Center for the last five years has been its Ford Foundation-supported “Crossing Borders” project on “Oceans Connect: Culture, Capital, and Commodity Flows Across Basins” (project concludes summer 2002). This multi-year project to rethink the way scholars approach area studies involves nearly 100 faculty and graduate students through four research clusters: Atlantic Studies, Eurasian Seas, Mediterranean Study, and Pacific Visions. Each cluster organizes regular discussion meetings; plans lectures and conferences; supports the development of new courses; and funds faculty and student research and training. A number of publications are emerging from the initiative including a special issue of Geographical Review (April 1999), a recent special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly (Winter 2001) and W. Ascher and N. Mirovitskaya, The Caspian Sea: A Question for Environmental Security (Kluwer, 2000).

An important function of the Center is to support the development of new projects that will, in time, become Center-affiliated programs. Current affiliates are the Triangle Institute for Security Studies, the Program in Asian Security Studies and the Center for the Study of Muslim Networks Studies. The Center is the virtual home for the Laboratory in Comparative Ethnic Processes (LiCEP), a national network of scholars working in ethnicity and conflict. It also coordinates a new initiative on “Managing Interventions after September 11th.” The Center provides staffing and financial support for these initiatives.

The Center maintains the Global Village Calendar, a comprehensive on-line calendar of international events happening at Duke University and in the Triangle area.
Graduate and undergraduate students can apply to the Center for research travel support. The undergraduate program is unique in supporting projects by rising sophomores as a way to encourage student interest in all things international. To date, students have conducted research in over 40 countries.

The Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation and Faculty Research Fellowships are administered through the Center.
The Center receives funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of State, The Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and other foundations and donors to support its current projects.

Professor Gilbert W. Merkx is the director of the Duke University Center for International Studies. Mr. R. Sikorski serves as its faculty director.

Last modified: October 18th, 2010 at 4:09 pm
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